YORK City boss Jackie McNamara has instructed his players to ignore their position in the table after dropping to the bottom of the Football League.

An agonising 2-1 injury-time defeat at Bristol Rovers, coupled with Yeovil’s 2-2 home draw against Barnet, means the Minstermen are now propping up Sky Bet League Two.

But the ex-Dundee United chief wants the team, who suffered a club record ninth consecutive loss at the Memorial Ground, to stop fretting over their current predicament and shake off their debilitating survival instinct.

Vadaine Oliver’s ninth goal of the season gave City a half-time lead against the play-off chasing Pirates but Jermaine Easter levelled on 71 minutes before the hosts’ top scorer Matty Taylor pounced at the death.

Ex-Celtic captain McNamara, who has lost all seven of his matches since taking over from Russ Wilcox as manager, remains optimistic that the team will avoid a return to non-League football but, commenting on his squad’s need to change their mentality, he said: “The emphasis at the club has been on survival for a long time, not just this season and we’ve got to stop worrying about where we are in the table because, whether you’re top, in the middle or at the bottom, you need to do the things that you do day-to-day in training.

“I know it’s in them because I’ve seen it but our mentality in the second half should have been to win the game rather than looking to avoid defeat. I actually heard somebody say let’s not get beaten in the changing room and that’s because they weren’t expecting to be 1-0 up at half-time.

“The job is quite similar to my first two, though, so I’ve been here before and I’m not scratching my head or panicking. There are a lot of things that need to change, but I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

“There’s a good core or players here to work with and I’m hoping some others can step up and help us going forward. Everything can change quickly and we are capable of going on a run and winning games.”

McNamara also stressed that the players must conquer the fear that handicapped their second-half display “Sometimes, we’re just looking to get rid of the ball and that has to change because you can’t approach games worrying about making mistakes,” he pointed out. “I’m naturally disappointed with the way we lost after conceding a late goal because the lads had given everything but, in the second half, you could see we were very nervous and one or two showed fear and apprehension.

“That affected our game plan because we were rushing things and didn’t take care with our passing, which means you give the ball away. We also dropped deeper and put ourselves under a lot of pressure.”

After conceding 11 goals in the previous two matches, McNamara was more encouraged by the performance of his centre halves, however, with the fit-again Dave Winfield playing alongside on-loan Huddersfield defender William Boyle in yet another new pairing.

He also welcomed the return of skipper Russell Penn and Luke Summerfield in midfield following their long lay-offs and reasoned: “I was pleased with certain things and there were positives.

“Our organisation and communication was good with the two lads coming back into the midfield. They tired, which was understandable after being out for a long time, but they gave us voices and experience on the pitch.

“I also thought the central defenders handled a lot of things well because their front two are very dangerous. Winfield was organising at the back which is important and we were stopping things coming into our box, although we didn’t do that for their second goal and there are still plenty of things we can do better defensively.”

The Pirates’ late winner came from a left-wing cross that on-loan, 18-year-old centre-half Stefan O’Connor, who was filling in at full back, failed to cut out.

On O’Connor’s efforts, McNamara added: “You could see he’s not used to playing in that position. In the first half, he was very secure but he looked tired in the second.

“It’s been a problem position for us and we’ve got to make sure we get it sorted.”

McNamara also revealed that keeper Scott Flinders suffered a suspected broken nose following a first-half clash with Taylor.