Hartlepool manager Neale Cooper admits confidence has eroded within his camp after his side suffered yet another flat defeat, losing 1-0 at home to Crawley.
Ritchie Barker's side moved up to fourth after their fourth away win of the season following promotion last time out and the difference in confidence and self-belief was evident throughout.
"It's hard, very hard,'' admitted Cooper. "We were a threat more in the second half, but we were careless on the ball at times.
"In our position it's down to confidence and players who should be winning games for us are struggling.
"Some players who did well needed more support from others in front of them. We needed more quality in attacking and wider areas and at times it didn't happen.
"We went a bit more direct second half, and looked more a threat. When we played too much football we looked a danger to ourselves.
"There wasn't much in it, it's down to the final third and we didn't perform. It's down to confidence or a lack of it and attacking players have to do better.''
Crawley manager Barker said: "It was similar to last week (against Bury) for us. I spoke at half-time and asked them think about seven days go - we were talking of getting the next one rather than just the one.
"First-half was excellent in how we played and passed, second half was grit and determination. It's a nice pitch to pass about and some of our interplay in and around the final third was fantastic - a lot of chances, which was pleasing for me.
"We should have been more than one-up and at one you are always at the mercy of the gods, a push, trip or handball and it's level. It's a hard place to come and we kept a clean sheet."