Three consecutive losses have knocked the confidence of Central Coast Mariners coach Alen Stajcic, who said a lack of consistency will continue to bite his team this A-League season if not corrected.
Sunday night's 3-1 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers was their second consecutive defeat at home, and their third in four games at Central Coast Stadium.
And while the Mariners have shown resilience and fight over the past two months, a lack of class in clutch moments continues to deny them.
"The intent to play and the intent to keep playing is admirable from us and it's that lack of quality at times that costs us goals or prevents us scoring," Stajcic said on Sunday.
"The effort is there I've said it a lot of times. We're in every game, we're playing well in large patches but until we start putting together consistent patches of 90 minutes we're not going to be able to pull off enough wins.
"There's a lot of good things and a lot of positives to take out of our last seven or eight weeks but that consistency or that lack of quality in critical moments is what's let us down."
Following Sunday's loss the Mariners are now four points from the bottom of the ladder and eight points off the top six heading into round 18 against Newcastle.
For Stajcic to continue to develop the young squad, he needs to find positives in each result.
"The win or the loss is the result of the process," he said.
"As disappointed as we all are at a results, and it's a results based business, you've still got to look at the processes, the things that are going to bring about the result and give you the best chance.
"And that's always for me more important."