The Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez believes that his team only have themselves to blame for their poor start to the season.
The Latics have a chance to secure a victory against Championship side Preston in the Carling Cup tonight which would at least give the club a lift, but Martinez says it matters little who the opponents are if they continue to inflict damage on themselves.
Wigan have improved since conceding 10 goals in their opening two Premier League games but were undone by a series of defensive blunders in losing 2-0 to Manchester City on Sunday. "We are playing against ourselves," said Martinez, whose side are 18th in the table with just one win - against Tottenham - from five games.
"It doesn't matter who the opposition are, if we don't do the things right we are going to get punished. When we put it together and show what we can do we can compete against anyone, as the result we had at White Hart Lane showed.
"It is about learning from that and making sure we develop together. We want to get rid of that feeling we were left with on Sunday and we need to stop conceding silly goals because that hides all the good work we have done in many other areas."
Martinez is now into his second season as manager at the DW Stadium but feels his side is still growing. The Spaniard brought in a host of new faces in the summer and believes they still need more time to settle in.
He said: "We develop that competition within the squad and then develop those partnerships that allow you to have that feeling on the pitch - to sense danger and make the right decisions and then click going forward.
"It is important on Wednesday we approach the game in the right manner and we perform well. There are certain aspects you cannot work on on the training ground. There are certain feelings you develop between players that you can only do in matches. These games are ideal for that."
Martinez can see parallels with the situation at Preston, where Darren Ferguson, who was appointed in January, has also endured a difficult start to the campaign.
Preston have collected just three points to lie second bottom of the Championship after seven games.
Martinez said: "Darren Ferguson is working with a new project and players and that is going to take time.
"I have seen them play three times and they are not far away from getting results. It is just a matter of time before they get some positive results and into a good groove, but hopefully after tomorrow.
"In a cup competition it is going to be completely different. They are going to come here with great desire and nothing to lose. It is going to be a welcome distraction from the league and that could make them very dangerous."
Martinez is likely to make changes for tonight's third-round tie between the two clubs.
Victor Moses is hoping to start after returning from an ankle injury as a substitute on Sunday.
James McArthur, Mauro Boselli and Steven Caldwell could also get a start while goalkeeper Chris Kirkland will hope for another chance after losing his place to Ali Al Habsi.
Martinez said: "We need to utilise the squad and this game is ideal for that. There are players that need minutes and need to be involved, others need to have a rest. We have got a large squad and I am very pleased with the squad. We need minutes on the pitch and to make sure we carry on making decisions and gelling together."Reuse content