Robert Page and Don Hutchison, Coventry City's two most experienced players, have deflected attention away from Micky Adams after the team's 2-1 defeat at home to Derby County on Saturday.
Adams, the Coventry manager, was surprised at a result that diminishes the club's promotion aspirations. It was a third successive defeat and auguries are not good.
Page says that the players take full responsibility for the debacle. "I know people are going to be looking at the manager, as they always do in these situations, but the players on the pitch take full responsibility for it," he said.
"It is nothing to do with the manager. He has stuck by us and picked the team that he thinks can go out and win and we have given the best performance all season, in my opinion, but just not had the rub of the green and not got the points.
"I know the fans are going to be frustrated with that because we have lost at home for a third time, but there is no-one more frustrated than the manager, his staff and us, the players.
"It is a team effort with the manager and staff but we, the players, take responsibility. I know we haven't had the result but we have got to stay optimistic about it."
Hutchison was equally shocked. "The lads are a little bit gutted, more for the gaffer than ourselves because we feel we owe him one," he said.
"He has stuck with us and we were just trying to get the win for him. The gaffer puts the team out on a Saturday and it is up to us to get a result for him."
And Hutchison's contribution was not lost on Page, who added: "The thing is with Hutch is that he always wants the ball and to be on it all the time.
"He's like a six-year-old with his own football and it is great to have that option. He gets through some work for a 35-year-old and is a fit lad who has really looked after himself."