Under-fire West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mowbray accepted responsibility for his side’s 3-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday last night.
Goals from Glenn Whelan and Madjid Bougherra inside the opening 15 minutes put the Owls 2-0 ahead and sent Albion tumbling to their sixth defeat in nine games since Mowbray took the helm at The Hawthorns.
Jason Koumas gave Albion a glimmer of hope in the 88th minute to make it 2-1, but Wednesday hit back with a last-minute penalty from substitute Steve MacLean.
Mowbray, whose side lost 1-0 at Stoke last weekend, said: "This wasn’t the response we were looking for but I will take responsibility for it.
"I wouldn’t question my footballers’ desire. This group of players are determined to put it right and I’ve got broad enough shoulders to take responsibility - blame is the wrong word - for these results."
Mowbray’s predecessor Bryan Robson paid for Albion’s early-season inconsistency with his job and the former Middlesbrough defender is now beginning to feel the heat.
"Football is a confidence game and when you’ve got a group of footballers whose main strength is their passing - when that starts to ebb away, it becomes difficult," said Mowbray.
"You’ve then got to find other qualities to get out of it, which we’ve spoken about and which will hopefully be in evidence this weekend."
Mowbray quit Hibernian to replace Robson in mid-September and was handed what is regarded as one of the most talented squads in the division.
However, he admitted they are struggling to cope with their tag as promotion favourites.
Mowbray added: "At times, particularly away from home, the demands being put on the players is something they’re finding it difficult to cope with, especially with confidence being so low.
"We need to start to rebuild the confidence and I’d suggest that confidence has been eroded by results in recent weeks.
"There was a spell where we were dominating football matches and creating lots of chances, but, ultimately, the loss of those points has eroded confidence."
Mowbray can call on a pool of players whose transfer fees add up to nearly #22million, and in his starting line-up at Hillsborough were Curtis Davies, Kevin Phillips, Diomansy Kamara and Koumas.
Yet it was Wednesday, who have spent around #2million on players over the past two years, who looked more like promotion contenders.
They were dominant from the outset and manager Brian Laws was left to toast a fully-deserved first home win in charge since taking over at Hillsborough earlier this month.
Laws, whose side held second-placed Cardiff to a goalless draw last weekend, said: "It was a great night and an important win for us.
"It’s been a great test for us having the two home games against Cardiff and West Brom. We knew this was always going to be a tough test because West Brom are possible contenders for promotion to the Premiership.
"What epitomised (the performance) was our hard work and willingness to work for each other and close people down. That was most evident in the first half and that won us the game. We didn’t allow West Brom to get their heads up and pick any passes out."