Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has placed the blame for the club's predicament firmly at the feet of his players.
Allardyce was blunt when asked what he would tell his players after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at West Ham in which Sunderland spurned a host of goalscoring opportunities.
The former Newcastle United and West Ham boss said he would tell his players: "You're to blame lads. You can't have done any more, but the end line is, you've not punished the opposition and at this level you can't afford to waste that opportunity.
"We might not play as well as this against [Crystal] Palace, we might not be able to take the pressure as much and create the chances we did.
"We could make life extremely difficult for ourselves going forward. Hopefully we won't."
Despite Allardyce's assessment of his squad, midfielder Jack Rodwell believes Sunderland - a point from safety in second bottom - can still escape the drop.
"If we'd come here, been absolutely dominated and lost 3-0, that would have been frustrating but not as much of a kick in the teeth," said Rodwell.
"But we've got to focus on the things we did well. Every player is positive.
"We look around the dressing room and think, 'I don't know how we're in this position'."
"We've got a great squad, a good manager and brilliant fans so we still believe."