Some individual players are giving their all, but boss Richard Agar admits Wakefield Trinity Wildcats must work harder as a team.
Wildcats will take on visiting Super League leaders Wigan Warriors tomorrow (kick-off 3.30pm) on the back of a 49-24 humiliation by Castleford Tigers at the Magic Weekend a week ago.
That followed a 44-18 drubbing at Hull KR six days earlier and, with several key players missing through injury, Agar is aware Wildcats are up against it.
“It is a very tough one, but they all tough for us at the moment, the way we’ve gone the last couple of weeks,” Agar conceded.
“That’s the most disappointing thing. We felt we were coming into hopefully a good and productive period and our performances over the last two weeks have left us mightily disappointed.”
But he added: “The players are a pretty determined bunch and we realise we’ve just got to keep working hard.
“It’s not for me to stand in front of a group of players and say ‘you’ve got to work harder’. If I asked Danny Kirmond or Justin Poore could they work any harder, the answer’s probably not.
“There’s a lot of players working very hard for the team, but it’s about doing it collectively and I think at the moment it’s also about focusing on probably a couple of really simple areas we need to do a lot better.”
He added: “Our kicking game is one in particular that put us under a massive amount of pressure in the first 20 minutes last week.
“You can’t win a game in the first 20, but you can certainly lose it. We put a kick-off out on the full, had two pretty lame kicks caught on the full and our first set of six we sailed over the sideline as well.
“We spent the first 20 minutes very much defending our goal line and if you look at the tries we conceded in the first half last week – three from kick plays and one from a dummy-half barge – it tells me we just weren’t competing hard enough in those areas.
“We’ve said it time and time again we are a team that has to work hard. We are not that talented a team that we can go out there and coast. We’ve got to play hard and we haven’t done that the last two weeks. The time’s not right for re-inventing ourselves, it’s just about working hard and trying to focus on a couple of areas that should ensure we have a lot more energy to compete.”
Wigan are three points clear at the top of the table and on an 11-game winning run.
“They are the outstanding team in the competition at the moment,” Agar said.
“They have some of the most outstanding players so we know how hard it is going to be.
“At the same time, we know we have got to front up. We owe it to ourselves, because we got no response last week after our performance at Hull KR.
“We were embarrassed by our performance last week. We know we are in a spot where we are getting some criticism and some questions asked about us, but the only way to answer them is with a backs to the wall performance. ”