Stan Lazaridis has denied that team spirit within the Birmingham City dressing-room has deteriorated and says that the players are focused on ensuring that the season does not end with relegation to the Coca-Cola Championship.
Birmingham performed poorly in drawing 1-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and, particularly in defence, showed signs of vulnerability.
They remain in the bottom three, are nervously watching Portsmouth behind them, and stay three points behind Albion. St Andrew's is not the place to be at the moment but Lazaridis, one of Birmingham's few impressive players on Saturday, is confident that the players can revive flagging fortunes.
"Having gone 1-0 up and conceding a goal, it was poor from us," he said. "Probably, in the end, West Brom deserved to win it. We hung in there. We tried to go for the win and it didn't come off for us.
"We are still in it. We have still got a game in hand over West Brom and next week's game with Tottenham Hot-spur is a must-win game for us."
Birmingham's slump has been attributed to many things - injuries have been the main reason - but the time for excuses, Lazaridis says, is over. "There have been a variety of things," he said. "Not scoring goals when we needed to, having a lot of players out and, as you go on and you keep losing games and get adrift, the pressure mounts on.
"The manager has got to do what he can. There are only so many games left and the manager has got to put the players out that he feels will get him points and we've got to keep going."
Talk is rife that Birmingham no longer have the seige mentality that enables them to overpower teams with their spirit and enthusiasm. "The spirit is great," Lazaridis said. "The lads believe we can still get out - and we can. We've got a game in hand, there's no reason why we can't beat Spurs next week.
"Ourselves and West Brom have got tough games ahead so it is going to go down to the last few games. It is not going to be all over in the next three or four weeks."
Jermaine Pennant has pledged his future to Birmingham - even if they are relegated. The midfield player said that he "won't be jumping ship" if top-flight status is surrended after four years.
Pennant has been one of Birmingham's best players this season despite more offthe-field headlines that blighted his time at Arsenal.
He was linked with a move to Liverpool during the January transfer window but says: "I still think we can stay up but, even if the worse comes to the worst, I certainly won't be jumping ship.
"You won't be seeing me slapping in a transfer request if we go down. If another club comes in for me, and Birmingham make the decision to sell me, then that's up to them.
"But as for me, I want to stay here. The club and Steve Bruce have shown a great deal of faith in me and I want to repay that."