A crestfallen Bryan Robson was visibly dejected after West Bromwich Albion's capitulation at Newcastle left them on the brink of relegation.
Albion have to win their final two fixtures and pray that Portsmouth don't procure another point or Birmingham City three if they are to complete another great escape.
However, even the most optimistic Albion aficionado would admit that scenario unlikely after their side failed to win for the 11th consecutive Premiership fixture.
The body language of the players during a comprehensive 3-0 defeat would suggest they no longer believe they can avoid relegation.
Robson was mystified as to why Albion produced such a lacklustre performance against a side decimated by injuries.
Supporters face an anxious wait until their next fixture against West Ham as they could conceivably be relegated without kicking a ball in anger.
If Portsmouth draw with Wigan or Birmingham beat Newcastle then Albion's fate will be sealed before their Monday night clash with the Hammers.
Robson said: "We have got a mountain to climb and we are relying on other results but we have got to prepare for West Ham and hope results go for us at the weekend.
"It is hard. We are relying on other people and we could be down on Monday. We are relying on Portsmouth and Birmingham getting beat.
"The players were in good mood before the kick-off and well prepared. I just think they went out there and didn't have any belief from kick-off for whatever reason. "We had a go at them at half time and they responded to a certain extent and started to play. But it was too late."
Robson showed a ruthless edge at half time with Diomansy Kamara, Steve Watson and Kevin Campbell substituted. It was all to no avail as Albion failed to gain a foothold in proceedings and allowed Newcastle to coast to a comfortable victory.
However, Robson didn't blame solely his trio of scapegoats and said he could feasibly have permed any three from 11.
"No disrespect to the three lads I bought off because it could have been any three but I had to change it," he said. "If I could have put 11 substitutes on I would have done. It was a bad performance by us and that makes it even worse with the other results going the way they did.
"I don't know what the reason was for that performance. I am very disappointed as the players, for me, have been performing well, but we didn't perform at all in this game.
"I have been sticking up for the lads of late as we have been playing some good football and putting in some good performances without really having the breaks in games but the first half was very poor. We didn't compete; we didn't pass and didn't show any energy levels at all. It was very disappointing."
Replays proved that Neil Clement's foul on Michael Chopra, which led to a penalty and Newcastle's second goal five minutes before half time, was outside the area.
Robson, who has lambasted officials in recent weeks, declined to blame referee Howard Webb, saying: "That didn't have any bearing on the result. We were fortunate not to be more goals down at that stage. We didn't deserve anything out of the game today."