Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Mick McCarthy has warned his players to accept that they are in a relegation fight to stay in the Premier League.
A 4-0 thrashing at Chelsea left Wolves one but bottom of the table and a point adrift of the safety mark, following a run of seven league games without a victory.
McCarthy told the Express & Star: "We're in a relegation fight and I've said that to the lads. They might as well understand that now rather than in a few weeks' time. The fact is we look like a team that could get relegated.
"Everton were in the bottom three for a while, but are they a team that looked like getting relegated? There's a subtle difference there.
"We have to get it out in the open and there can't be any pussy-footing around. We can't hide away from it. We can't keep saying we're playing well and then get to halfway through the season and still say we're fine if we're in the same position.
"We won't be judged on Saturday's performance. But we have to put it to one side because the next two are going to be all-important. We have to play against Birmingham and Bolton like we've done in recent weeks, not like we did on Saturday.
"We understood at the start that there would be a few hard knocks and we've just had two on the bounce.
"But I don't worry about how we're going to rebound, because the players knew they were going to be difficult."