GARY Caldwell slammed the ‘unacceptable’ way his Wigan Athletic side allowed two points to slip through their fingers against Sheffield United on a ‘massively disappointing night’ at the DW Stadium.
After leading 3-0 at the three-quarter mark, thanks to goals from Will Grigg, Haris Vuckic and Chris McCann, Latics gifted the Blades a way back in.
The South Yorkshiremen restored parity with two minutes remaining, and would have left with all three points had Jussi Jaaskelainen not pulled off a fabulous save in stoppage-time to deny Billy Sharp.
Caldwell could not hide his anger and frustration in a remarkable post-match press conference.
And he hinted that some players ‘won’t be at this club’ for much longer if he sees a repeat.
“Too many players were unacceptable in their performance and played with the game at 3-0,” the Latics boss fumed.
“You can’t do that. If you want to be a successful footballer, you have to play for 90 minutes.
“If you don’t do that, you won’t be successful - and they won’t be at this club.
“I’m somebody who’s very honest and fair with the players.
“When I see that - and they play with their careers, and they play with this club’s future - I can’t accept it and I won’t accept it.
“I can live with honest mistakes. But when I see that kind of complacency...you can’t do that in football.
“It’s cost us on a night where we should have been three points off second (place in League One), and really making a charge.”
Despite seeing his side take a commanding 2-0 lead into the break, Caldwell could already see the warning signs.
“I told the players at half-time that I felt there was a little bit of playing with the game at 1-0, thinking it was easier than it was, making silly mistakes, giving them opportunities that shouldn’t have been there,” he added.
“I did voice those concerns at half-time, which makes it even more disappointing that, at 3-0, we really did play with the game, and we thought it was easy.
“We stopped working, we stopped running, we stopped heading it, we stopped tracking people.
“If you do that, you’re going to get punished - and we got punished.
“It’s not like we were overpowered by the opposition.
“We absolutely battered them for 60 minutes - a team that had played on Saturday.
“All credit to them, they kept going and they got their first goal.
“But how we can give them that opportunity is unacceptable.”