Dean Smith admits “the clock is ticking” as he attempts to save Norwich from Premier League relegation.
The Canaries remain rooted to the foot of the table, three points from safety, after slumping to a 5-0 home defeat to Arsenal on Boxing Day.
Having seen his side double their points tally for the season by taking five points from his opening three games in charge, Smith has been unable to maintain the progress.
Four consecutive defeats, without registering a goal, means Norwich head to Crystal Palace on Tuesday in desperate need of a reaction.
“There are still 20 games to go but the clock is ticking,” conceded head coach Smith.
“I will look at myself, did I get the team right (against Arsenal)? Did I prepare the team right? But the players have to take a long, hard look at themselves.
“I won’t spend too long on dissecting Arsenal, because there were too many mistakes, but the players will know that.
“My overriding emotion was anger, because I haven’t seen that coming.
“We worked on Christmas Day and I felt watching them the players were ready to put in a big performance but we certainly didn’t do that.”
Following the Arsenal defeat, Smith had said the job of keeping Norwich in the top flight is now more difficult than when he replaced Daniel Farke in November.
The former Aston Villa boss cited his depleted squad as the reason for the uphill battle becoming a tougher climb with a number of players missing due to a mix of injuries and positive Covid cases.
The task at Palace will not be made easier by any of those absentees returning at Selhurst Park, with Smith adding: “”We knew coming into the Arsenal game none of those unavailable would be back, either through injury, illness or Covid.
“It’s too early to say at this stage for the Leicester game (on New Year’s Day). We just have to get through this next game first.
“We have the same group again. I have to lift spirits. But you need the players to drive it as well.”