Kyle McFadzean has questioned the mentality of Crawley’s players following another disappointing performance against one of League One’s struggling sides.
Reds slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Oldham Athletic on Saturday having stunned leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers in their previous match.
It continued a frustrating trend for John Gregory’s side who have raised their game against opponents in the top half of the table, only to fall flat when they have faced those below them.
McFadzean said: “I don’t know what it is. It might be the mentality of the players but we shouldn’t be looking at Oldham and thinking we don’t need to put as much in. “We should be going into every game like we did against Wolves. I don’t know what other lads think before a game but I know I take every game the same.
“I think the lads do as well but we just got off to a rubbish start. I don’t know why it happened but it’s not acceptable and the lads know that.”
Peterborough’s defeat at home to Rotherham means Crawley remain 12 points adrift of sixth place with three games in hand.
Gregory did not wave the white flag after Danny Philliskirk’s 18th-minute strike condemned Reds to only their third defeat of his reign but hinted for the first time that a play-off challenge might be beyond them.
The Reds boss said: “If the play-off places become beyond us we still want to finish as high as we can. Tenth is the highest this club has ever finished so l’d like to get above that.”