Everton boss David Moyes believes his team are involved in a relegation battle.
The Merseysiders are bottom of the Barclays Premier League after failing to win any of their opening six games.
Few expect them to remain in the lower reaches of the table for long but Moyes is not afraid to use stark terminology.
The Scot said: "If you are in the bottom three you are in a relegation battle, whether it is after two games of the season or 32.
"It is still the same. If you are in the bottom three you have got to get out of it.
"It is a position - I don't know if you can call it false - and it is there staring us in the face.
"You take it and try to move away from it."
Aside from a 1-0 loss to Newcastle a fortnight ago, Moyes has been happy with performances.
He feels his side deserve much more than the three points they have collected but concedes two main factors are hindering them - isolated errors and, chiefly, a lack of goals.
The Toffees have scored just four times in the league - three in one game against Manchester United - with none coming from out-and-out strikers.
Of his regular forwards, Louis Saha has been out injured, Ayegbeni Yakubu is finding his way back to form and fitness and summer signing Jermaine Beckford is still adjusting to the top flight.
Moyes said: "Goals always change games. If you score and you win people don't talk about performance.
"What we have not done is score the goals to change the games.
"There have been one or two mistakes which have led to the opposition winning.
"We need to score a few more goals and keep a few more clean sheets.
"Teams can score very good goals against you and there is nothing you can do about that, but certainly the goals against Wolves and Blackburn were self-inflicted."
Moyes is hoping Yakubu, an £11.25million signing three years ago, can grab his opportunities.
The Nigerian was unable to impose himself after serious injury last season and then missed the start of the current campaign due to a lack of match-fitness after the World Cup.
Moyes said: "It is not a goal I need from him - it is probably 12 or 15 goals.
"One goal isn't enough - but he has got to start with one to get more.
"He has played two and a half games, he is getting his chances and he has got to start delivering.
"But I'm looking at all the players."
Everton have also suffered the embarrassment of being knocked out of the Carling Cup by League One Brentford, despite fielding a strong team, this season.
Moyes cannot fathom why things are things are not happening for his team.
He added: "I can't see an awful lot we are doing wrong.
"Anyone who follows stats - not that stats are a great thing - will see we have had more of the ball, we pass the ball more than anyone else, we have had the second most crosses in the Premier League and the most shots on target.
"But they don't count for anything.
"The only stats that count are the ones that say you win, but if you look at all the things there is not a lot wrong.
"Most of the things are in our favour. I can't really be that critical.
"I'm going through it with a fine-tooth comb and I'm quoting stats when I'm not really interested in stats.
"I have to find the way of getting results and that is what I am trying to do."
Moyes' side travel to Birmingham tomorrow as they continue to search for their first victory.
Everton finished last season strongly by losing just two of their final 24 games but did drop points at St Andrew's as they let a two-goal lead slip to draw 2-2 in March.
Alex McLeish's are also unbeaten in more than a year at home ground and Moyes accepts another tough test lies in store.
He said: "Alex has got a team which is hard to beat, especially at home. We found that last year.
"There is a hunger about them, a determination to prove themselves at this level. They certainly did that last year.
"They are a difficult side to break down and we have had some tight games against them. I expect it to be much the same."