Daniel Stendel last night admitted Hearts are staring relegation in the face.
The Jam Tarts hit the bottom of the Premiership after a 2-1 defeat at Hamilton Accies.
It was their third defeat in a row under their new manager.
And the German demanded his confidence-sapped players take responsibility for their failures.
“Today was a very bad day for me, for the club and for the supporters,” said Stendel.
“We had more here than the home fans. In the second half our performance wasn’t enough.
“We played last week against St Johnstone and today against Hamilton.
“Both were the worst teams in the league at that time and we lost them both.
“I think the biggest thing for us now is just to avoid relegation. We have to be realistic.
“Maybe some players will surprise me in the future or we have to change things.
“I have to convince the players about my work but they need to change things themselves, too.
“We have supported every player in the squad over the past two weeks but what we’ve had back is not enough.
“The responsibility for the next game is with the squad and with every player.”
Stendel has now had three games to assess his players – and he isn’t wildly impressed.
Now, with his side three points adrift at the foot of the table, he warned those who aren’t meeting his standards that they will be replaced.
“We need to change things,” he admitted.
“Either some players have to come back or we need some different players.
“We had chances to score but didn’t take them. I think the problem is not just the last two weeks but a long time before.”
In searching for positives, Stendel highlighted the performances of two oldest players in his side – and urged his youngsters to take a leaf out of their book.
“I take responsibility for the last two weeks and the last three results,” he said.
“But it’s difficult to accept some performances.
“Steven Naismith tried to play. He wanted to help the team but he got hurt in the first half.
“Hopefully the other players can see his mentality and what he wants to do for the club.
“Steven MacLean isn’t the youngest player in our squad but he gives everything on the pitch too.
“We had to show our quality. In some positions the quality is not enough at the moment. It’s hard.
“I decided to take on this challenge and I will do my best.”
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