Bristol City manager Sean O'Driscoll was worried by negative vibes coming from his players during Friday night's defeat to Derby.
The Robins remain rooted to the bottom of the npower Championship table following the 3-0 loss at Pride Park. O'Driscoll's side are four points shy of safety but could find themselves further adrift come Saturday evening, with the four sides directly above them - Wolves, Peterborough, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley - all in action.
Given their predicament, O'Driscoll insists his side cannot afford to start feeling sorry for themselves.
''That is probably as much possession as we have had since I arrived at the club, yet it's our worst defeat,'' said O'Driscoll.
''It's a strange one because we let that disappointment affect us, which is the first time that has happened. Through everything that has happened, we have been really positive with the players and really positive with what we have said to them. The first bit of negativity has just come from them.
''You could see it in them and when they came in at half-time it was negative, which is disappointing. That can't happen given where we are in the league. We have got to handle it better. The players have got to be positive and view where we are as a challenge - an opportunity. Because if they don't, the next few matches are going to be torture.''
Goals either side of half-time from Jeff Hendrick and Jamie Ward, who saw a third-minute penalty saved by Tom Heaton, and an injury-time strike from substitute Ben Davies saw Derby stroll to victory.
The margin would have been greater had it not been for Heaton, the woodwork and a contender for miss of the season from Conor Sammon.
After overcoming Leicester prior to the international break, the Rams recorded successive league wins for the first time since mid-December - when they beat tonight's opponents 2-0 at Ashton Gate.
Asked if the break came at just the right time, Derby coach Andy Garner said: ''Perhaps that could be fair to say. The players had a chance to recharge their batteries and they have produced a good performance. I thought we were superb from start to finish."