Steven Schumacher insists there can be no passengers in the Fleetwood Town side after Saturday’s disappointing defeat at the hands of Exeter City.
The midfielder was angry to see Town throw away a second-half lead against the Grecians, admitting things got sloppy as the home side conceded twice late on.
“We created chances and we said at half-time we were the better team,” said the former Bury skipper.
“We ended up being a little bit sloppy and there were probably a few players who weren’t at the game.
“At this level you can’t afford to be carrying anybody. If you do, you are going to struggle. A few little sloppy passes have ended up getting the better of us.”
Exeter set out their stall to defend and frustrate on Saturday, something Schumacher and manager Graham Alexander agree Town are going to have to get used to if they are to remain among the promotion contenders.
Schumacher said: “To lose any game is disappointing, but from going a goal in front we should have done better to take the three points.
“I think teams are going to come to our place and make it hard for us.
“Nobody is going to come here and attack us because of where we are in the league.
“Chris Lucketti (assistant manger) has told us we are there to be shot at. We’re up there at the top of the league and teams are going to do that.
“But having got the breakthrough we should have done a bit better. We should have seen the game out.”
David Ball was handed his first start of the month, replacing Jamille Matt.
But it was a frustrating afternoon for the striker, who worked hard but found it tough going against a five-man back line.
Schumacher defended his manager’s decision, adding: “The gaffer decided to put Bally in but he didn’t get a lot of service first half. He looked sharper after the break.
“But whoever gets picked the overall tempo has to be better. We got sucked into their gameplan`, similar to the first half against Burton.”
Former Blackpool man Alan Gow had a big say in the result, setting up both of Scott Bennett’s goals.
And Schumacher, who has come across the ex-Rangers star before, believes Fleetwood should have done more to shackle the attacker.
He said: “Alan Gow is a good player. I’ve played against him several times and I know he’s dangerous when he gets the ball at his feet.
“But we knew that and we should have nullified him. It was bad defending from our point of view for both of their goals.”
But there were positives for Fleetwood, not least the performance of the lively Matty Blair as Town launched a second-half onslaught on the Exeter goal
Schumacher was full of praise for the winger. He said: “Credit to Matty Blair, he came on and made an impact, and he took his goal well.
“They are the positives. We did create chances – it’s not like we had no ideas.
“We should have got something out of Saturday but we’ll put it behind us and move on.”
As for his own performance, playing in a deeper, holding role as part of Town’s central midfield, the 29-year-old is still in the hunt for his elusive first goal for the Highbury club.
“I’m getting closer,” said Schumacher. “I managed to have a shot on Saturday.
“I’ll keep working hard and see where we can go.”