Dundee United manager Csaba Laszlo believes Saturday’s drubbing to Falkirk effectively told him that he needs to sign more new players during the January window.
But the Tannadice boss appreciates that his transfer business may already be finished.
United’s Championship title bid suffered a demoralising set-back in a toothless 6-1 thrashing to the Bairns at the weekend.
Laszlo handed full debuts to Craig Slater and Brandon Mason and brought on Emil Lyng for his maiden appearance but the visitors were collectively abysmal as they fell six points adrift of leaders St Mirren.
Recent injuries to key men Fraser Fyvie and Scott Fraser have not helped but the former Hearts manager admitted those who featured on Saturday severely damaged their chances of staying in the team.
He said: “We can bring in more players, or maybe nobody. But I ask the players, don’t hide.
“We have some injuries and at the moment and I hear people talking about Fraser Fyvie and Scott Fraser.
“These boys have done a job until now, and now you’re in charge.
“Maybe you’re thinking before, ‘why don’t I play?’ Why don’t you give the answer and show?
“Why are you telling to the manager or the board, ‘bring new players?’
“Now you are in charge, before maybe you are thinking, ‘why don’t I play, why is he playing?’
“The money is not endless, if we have endless money maybe we have a different team. That’s not about it, it’s about the performance.
“There was no aggressiveness there.”
Laszlo will demand a reaction from his players when United travel to Dunfermline this weekend ahead of a Scottish Cup fourth round trip to Alloa the following Saturday.
He added: “Now we have two very important games, which maybe give us the possibly to bounce back and the possibility to show that it was really a very, very bad day – that’s the reaction I want.
“I don’t want the reaction that somebody points to another.
“Next Saturday, we have to show we’re back in the right way.
“I want a reaction, I want that the players to show next week a completely different face. Even to talk about why this happened.
“We lost a lot of desire and it’s unacceptable not to win one-on-one situations.”