Captain Tom Clarke says Preston North End’s players are well aware that their form needs to improve quickly.
The Lilywhites’ 3-2 defeat at Sheffield United leaves them propping up the rest at the bottom of the Championship table.
They have not won since the opening day and the reverse at Bramall Lane was a third straight loss in just seven days.
Goals either side of half-time from Billy Sharp and Chris Basham put the Blades in command and the game drifted until late in the piece.
Callum Robinson and Daniel Johnson scored just two minutes apart to dramatically draw PNE level only for David McGoldrick’s goal to settle it in a defeat that will be hard to take for all at Deepdale.
“Not many of the players are used to the situation we’re in,” Clarke admitted post-match.
“It’s a difficult period at the moment. We’re in a rut now.
“We need to get out of it quickly and we’re doing everything we can to try and do that.
“In the changing room we need to stay together, stay positive and keep going because it will turn around.
“You saw that with the second-half performance, I feel that’s more what we’re about.”
North End were again to easy to score against and conceded goals at crucial times at Bramall Lane.
But despite making life difficult for themselves, they came agonisingly close to a point.
“We went in at half-time very disappointed after going a goal behind,” said Clarke.
“It seems we’re doing that quite a lot this season and the first goal is very important.
“We regrouped at half-time only for them to get the second goal which is really disappointing from a set piece.
“But after that I thought we showed great character and what we’re about really.
“We needed to show the fans how much we wanted it and I felt we did that.
“We got ourselves back in the game and looked like the team that would go on and push for that third but we got done with the sucker punch at the end.
“It’s frustrating and it feels like we’re getting punished for every little thing at the moment.”
Having scored their first goals on the road in the Championship this season, Clarke knows just how much a point would have meant.
“To go away with a point would have been perfect for our confidence,” said the skipper.
“A point away from home with the run we’ve been on, would have been brilliant.
“It’s just disappointing that we threw that away.”