Crewe manager Steve Davis warned his players to buck up their ideas after his team were outplayed and outfought in a 2-0 home defeat to Oldham.
Fans would have been forgiven for thinking it was Crewe playing in the blue as the team in red forgot the pressing and fluent passing game that has become their trademark under Davis.
Instead it was the visitors who harried, pressed and stroked the ball around and Crewe were lucky to only go down to second-half goals from James Tarkowski and Matt Derbyshire.
Davis admitted: "We got what we deserved. They pressurised us, there was no fluency in our game and we couldn't get going. Their manager was under a little pressure and his players have pulled out a performance for him and we couldn't cope with it.
"Since I've been in charge I have never seen that kind of performance at home. I was looking for characters, but there weren't enough of them. That is not a Crewe performance that I expect and I'm extremely disappointed and I've told the players that.
"I put a team out with players that wanted to prove a point that they were good enough to get in the team and they haven't done that. When I'm backed against the wall I certainly come out fighting and I hope the players come out fighting on Saturday."
Harry Davis turned Gregor Robertson's corner kick on to the post with six minutes gone, but after that Crewe spent much of the first-half on the back foot.
The visitors finally found the goal they deserved just after the hour when Tarkowski headed home Croft's corner at the far post. Derbyshire put the result beyond doubt with 11 minutes go, turning in Cristian Montano's superb low cross from close range.
Latics boss Paul Dickov said: "I'm a lot happier that the players have got the result they deserved and they've shown what they're capable of. They've set their own standards now and they have to continue that now.
"I knew there was pressure on me from certain quarters but I put pressure on myself, I always did as a player and there has been no one more disappointed than me around the club lately. I believe in this group of lads and I knew they could turn it around."