Barnsley manager Paul Heckingbottom bemoaned his side’s defensive display after they crashed at fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers.
And ahead of January’s transfer window he provided a tacit warning to his squad that “we either have to change the mentality of the players or change the players”.
Striker Gary Madine scored two first-half goals for the home side, including a penalty, before Mark Little’s first goal for the Trotters after 69 minutes made the game safe.
Tom Bradshaw’s penalty had briefly restored parity for the visitors.
Barnsley’s goal came after Bradshaw burst into the area and Reece Burke stretched out a leg and took the man rather than the ball. Bradshaw fired home the spot-kick right-footed beyond Alnwick.
“You get what you deserve,” said. Heckingbottom. “The three goals we gave away were shocking. They will be delighted, of course they will.
‘We have had 13 shots in the second half, six on target and missed them. That’s why we have lost.
“We were wasteful at one end, when we were on top and naive at the other end conceding the goals.
“We are still the team that dominated Hull at home and lost 1-0 somehow.
“We follow that up at Hillsborough when Sheffield Wednesday dominated us in the first half and go 1-0 up. But we show energy, determination and enthusiasm in the second half to get a draw.
“We played Burton away the game after, gave shocking goals away like that, but then we score four ourselves.
“The problem is we can’t always rely on scoring four goals to win a game. We either have to change the mentality of the players or change the players.”
Victory lifted the Trotters above Burton, Sunderland and Birmingham to fourth-bottom and within four points of Barnsley. In contrast, Barnsley have now lost four successive games and have dropped to 19th.
Bolton manager Phil Parkinson said: “It’s a huge boost for us. That’s only one defeat in nine now, five unbeaten at home and we are starting to build momentum. It is good to see the table. I have only glanced at it, but it’s a good feeling.”
Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Little, Burke, Beevers, Robinson, Pratley, Henry, Ameobi (Noone 83), Vela, Buckley (Armstrong 61), Madine (Wilbraham 87). Unused substitutes: Le Fondre, Osede, Darby, Howard.
Barnsley: Davies, McCarthy, Pearson, Lindsay, Yiadom, Williams (McGeehan 90), Hammill (Thiam 68), Potts, Moncur, Barnes (Hedges 73), Bradshaw. Unused substitutes: Townsend, Pinnock, Ugbo, Gardner.
Referee: Oliver Langford (W Midlands).