Jon Whitney: I'll take the criticism for Walsall defeat
Walsall boss Jon Whitney refused to paper over the cracks following their 3-0 defeat to lowly Rochdale, stating: "I'll take the criticism for that."
Some Saddlers supporters were calling for Whitney to be sacked after the loss at the Banks's Stadium, which followed a 3-0 triumph at Southend United on Saturday.
"We've just been beat 3-0 by bottom of the table so I'm not going to try to paint over the cracks," said Whitney.
"It looks like a poor result, and it was. The players have to show some mettle now as we're under a bit of pressure again.
"This was a chance to really cement our place in the top half, we didn't take it.
"I'm still going to defend my players as they wanted it, but didn't have it in their legs. It was a bit of a fear I had before it, but when you've just won 3-0 you give the lads another chance.
"I'm not going to blame the players, it's a collective. As the manager, I'll take the criticism for that."
Jimmy McNulty, Ian Henderson and Mihai Dobre scored for Dale, who are now second bottom in League One.
Walsall are 13th and also had Erhun Oztumer, who scored a hat-trick at Roots Hall, denied from the penalty spot.
"I thought it looked like we didn't have any legs. I thought Rochdale looked fresh, sharper than us," said Whitney.
"I think it was a game too far for a couple of our players. Rochdale can play with that energy, we know that - and we couldn't play with the energy we usually do.
"No excuses. i just thought we looked very lethargic and leggy. I'm not going to stand here and really defend, but I'm also not going to throw the lads under the bus.
"They've just been kicked in the teeth again but I think, in general, when it settles down and the emotion settles down, I thought it was a game too far for our lads."
On Oztumer's spot-kick being saved, Whitney added: "I've said to Erhun that you can't be as high as you were on Saturday after a hat-trick and be so down after that.
"What makes good players is what you do next, it's your reactions to disappointment in life. I want to see a reaction from him as well."