Manager Alan Stubbs has called on his Rotherham United players to give each other grief as they look to climb the Championship table.
The Millers go in today’s home clash with bottom club Cardiff City only a point and a place above the relegation places.
And Stubbs would be happy to see members of his team exchanging angry words on the pitch in their bid to escape the danger zone.
“I think football has changed a bit,” said the former Premier League centre-half. “I don’t want to keep relating back to when I played, but I played with quite a few characters, and now it’s not necessarily a time where players dig each other out. That time has gone.
“I would like to see it more. It’s not personal. It’s all about one thing. You train all week for and it and there is no better feeling than when you win three points on a Saturday.”
In his own playing days with Bolton, Everton, Celtic, Sunderland and Derby, Stubbs was always prepared to dish out a rollicking if he felt it was needed.
“I wasn’t great in terms of the way I spoke to teammates, but it is because I set standards,” he revealed. “If somebody wanted an easy day then I would tell them about it because I didn’t like losing, whether it was in training or in a game.
“I do feel as if the players can be a little bit nastier, not in a kicking way, but in certain times on the pitch in telling a teammate he’s not doing it.
“Then after the game you shake his hand and give him a hug because you have just got the most important thing and that’s three points. If someone needs a kick up the backside on the pitch, then I have got no problems with a teammate doing that.
“It shouldn’t be personal and it never is personal. We don’t want them to be nice, we want them to be nasty.”
The 44-year-old, who win the Scottish FA Cup during his spell as Hibernian manager before coming to New York Stadium, says the size of the task in leading Rotherham away from the danger zone holds no fear for him.
“I’ve been in management just over two years and I’ve had a bit of success in that short time,” he said. “All that does is make you want it even more. I knew this was going to be a big challenge when I came here, but not for one minute did it ever put me off.
“It’s a great challenge in a very competitive division and it just makes you want to succeed even more.”
Stubbs and his squad have studied video footage of last weekend’s 4-2 defeat at Blackburn Rovers in a bid to correct the defensive errors which have seen them concede more goals - 20 - than any other club in the division.
“The players have to take it on board,” the boss said. “It’s part of the reason why we haven’t picked up results. Players don’t like to keep making mistakes and that’s why you have to go through it visually.
“Blackburn’s second goal has come from a throw-in and we had probably four or five opportunies where we could prevent it before it even got to Marvin Emnes who scored.
“Sometimes you’re lucky if you get one opportunity. to prevent it. One lapse in concentration or one bad pass or one case of someone not being where he should be when we haven’t got the ball can’t lead to a goal.
“The players have been told that. They know it. The players are not soft. They know where they should be when we haven’t got the ball. They know where they should be when we’ve got the ball.
“I analyse myself to see if there is was anything I did right or wrong during a game and players have to do the same. If they have done something, we will be there to help them. But, ultimately, they have to do it themselves as well. I would always mark myself down because I always feel I can do better. The day I get to an A-plus, I’ve cracked it. But I’m not close to that yet. I know I’m not.”