Darren Currie labelled his Barnet players as “soft” and said he lacked “men” after they fell to a 2-1 defeat at leaders Barrow on Saturday.

The Bees started strongly but were rocked by two goals in four first-half minutes from Josh Kay and a John Rooney wonder strike and struggled thereafter, although Jack Taylor did gave the visitors late hope when he capitalised on a defensive mistake.

The defeat was a fourth in five National League games for Barnet and saw them drop to 16th in the table, prompting the head coach to issue a scathing assessment of his players.

Asked why conceding the opening goal had such a detrimental effect on his side, Currie told the club’s YouTube channel: “That’s because we’re soft. I’ve got a lot of boys in there, I haven’t got enough men, not enough people that want to take responsibility.

“I need to take responsibility and I will do because it’s my job and I come out here week-in, week-out and defend those boys, sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly, but there’s not enough men.

“There’s a real softness about us. We concede and I don’t see enough people looking around the pitch trying to get each other going again. It’s almost like everyone goes within themselves and then that leads to the second goal.

“Whether he [Rooney] meant it or not, it’s a wonderful shot, cross whatever, I don’t want to take anything away from him, but we find ourselves where we are in that position again where we are climbing mountains. It’s a real bad habit of ours but it’s difficult to climb those mountains when I’ve got too many boys.”

Prior to falling behind, Barnet had suffered a blow when they lost Ephron Mason-Clarke to a head injury.

Currie described the challenge as “nasty” and claimed: “I think, without accusing anyone, it was maybe intentional because Ephron’s a threat and they probably wanted to put their marker down early and the lad’s left his arm in the side of Ephron’s head.

“It’s not an accusation, that’s how I saw it, and it took a danger man away from us because I thought Eph had started the game well, he’s clearly a threat whenever he plays and for the early part of the game a lot of what we were doing was okay. We were frustrating and trying to counter-attack and that was the plan today but that very quickly got undone.”

The margin of defeat could have been worse were it not for another impressive performance from Scott Loach.

Currie believes his goalkeeper is the type of player the younger members of his squad need to learn from if they want to further their careers.

The Bees head coach said: “Loachy’s terrific. In my opinion, he’s the best in the league, he’s a real leader. I just said to the young ones in there they need to learn off people like Loachy, James Dunne, these boys have played in the league and that’s where all these young ones are aspiring to get to.

“But I don’t know why they think they’re owed it, I don’t know why they think they only have to turn up and have a nice game of football and then someone’s going to come and take them into League Two, League One etc.

“You’ve got to fight and you’ve got to work hard to either get that opportunity to either take us into the league or get a move into the league. But certainly they can all forget playing any higher than this level if they keep playing as soft as they have today.”