COLCHESTER United head coach John McGreal has threatened to make changes to his squad in the aftermath of his side’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at Crawley Town this afternoon.

The U's boss says they have to get back to basics, after their loss at Broadfield Stadium in their opening game of 2019.

Luke Gambin’s second-half brace sealed victory for the hosts, who played for more than an hour with only ten men after defender Joe McNerney was sent off for serious foul play.

Colchester, who had Frankie Kent dismissed in stoppage-time after he picked up a second yellow card, struggled to break down Crawley in the second half.

They fell to defeat to slip to eighth in League Two following a run of one point from a possible nine over the festive period.

McGreal said: “Things will have to change – simple as.

“I’m here to improve the club and I love the club.

“We feel as though we have been improving it and if one or two players are going to put in performances like that, maybe they might not be here from now on.

“We’re in January and signings can be made and players can go, if they want.

“We have to be careful what we say and not get carried away but at times, it’s got a bit too comfy for one or two players and we have to light a little bit of a fire up their backside.

“We have a fantastic squad – it’s just finding that way to win a game of football at this moment in time.

“We had a really good foothold in the game and we were in the ascendency.

“We hit the bar and got in the final third but we didn’t start the second half well.

“They sat in with a deep block but it’s really, really disappointing.

“It was a little bit with the pride and wearing the badge at times, in the second half.

“I really feel exhausted by trying to get after one or two of them and get them going with a bit of vibrancy and urgency.”

Colchester had come closest to scoring in the first half when Luke Norris hit the bar with a header but struggled to seriously test Crawley keeper Glenn Morris, after half-time.

“I feel really sorry for the fans and they’ve had the right to have a go,” added McGreal.

“The second half was the most disappointed that I’ve been with my players, definitely.

“I try and take the positives out of everything but you can’t dress that up.

“Some of the players have to be accountable for what we are, along with me and Steve (Ball).

“I didn’t see any thought process from them in the second half and maybe getting into the top three and top four has affected us with the pressure, if you look at the results of late.

“Maybe getting chased is putting that little bit of pressure on the boys as we’ve always been the chaser.

“We need to get back to basics which we did in the first half.

“We’re looking for experienced boys to show a bit of guile at the money end of the pitch and experience and organisation on the pitch and also more running in the final third.

“There was too much acceptance of balls going straight into the keeper’s arms or past the post and they need to demand a lot more off each other and I didn’t see that in the second half – that’s the disappointing thing.

"We've got to get back to hard work and put it right - it's down to us."