Dean Saunders has challenged his players to lift the Molineux crowd tomorrow as Wolves seek a crucial victory against Leeds United (3pm).
Wolves’ recent poor run has been particularly pronounced at home, recording just one win on home soil from the last 11 attempts.
Much of that was obviously before Saunders’ time, and he wants his players to show the sort of character and commitment which the Wolves fans are keen to see.
“I can understand the supporters’ frustration, because of where the team was and where it is now,” says the boss.
“It happens in football.
“We’ve got to all rally together - the supporters have to get behind the team and the players have to lift the supporters with an all-action performance.
“The supporters will forgive them if they’re chasing lost causes and they give 100 per cent and they go in for headers and tackles and sprint back, clear balls off the line and sprint to get on the end of crosses – that’s all the supporters want to see.
“And if you do that, you normally win.
“You’ve got to be a strong character to come through difficult periods – I never noticed the crowd during my playing career - they can’t come on the pitch and tackle you.
“You’ve got to have a rhino skin at times.
“All I can urge the fans to do is to get behind the team.
“Players earn vast sums of money and they should be going out there giving everything, well, 99.9 per cent of them do.
“Some curl up in a ball sometimes when the pressure is on, and look like they’re not trying, but it’s not a lack of effort, they’re just short of confidence and the supporters can help, I can help, all the support staff can help them.
“That’s what we need now – players need help to get going and once we get going, we’ll be fine.”
Speaking earlier in the week, CEO Jez Moxey said everyone at the club – including the Board and players – needed to look at their own contributions and performances and make improvements.
Saunders says he has noticed a positive response to his methods in his first month at the club, and says the players need to get themselves back to the sort of levels which they have produced in the past.
“Mike Tyson was unbeatable at one stage in his career, but three years later everyone was beating him,” said the boss.
“You’ve got to be the same animal that’s had the success, and if you’re not, you’ve got to get back to doing what you’re good at.
“I know they’re better than the league position they’re in, but it’s easy saying it – you’ve got to go out and do it.
“I think we’ve got some good players, but we’ve been too easy to score against and I have to put that right.
“I’ve spoken to the players and I’ve said to them ‘you’ve been relegated, you’ve lost 16 games in this league, so you’ve got to ask yourself: ‘Am I the same person I was? Am I doing the same things I was when I was doing well?’
“And as a group, are we playing with the same desire and enthusiasm or do we still want to win as much as we did?
“If that’s taking a long, hard look at yourself, then yes, and they have to produce.
“I think they will be the first to admit that over the last two-and-a-half to three years the team has struggled and they haven’t won enough games.
“If you ask them all individually, they’d say ‘yes, you’re right – we’ve got to do it’.
“Instead of just saying it as a collective thing, I’ve spoken to them individually and asked them ‘are you doing your job in your position?
“Don’t blame everyone else – get your job sorted’.
“The feedback has been good – I think the players know.
“Players like to blame everything – I did, it’s a sort of defence mechanism you have.
“That’s human nature, and the manager puts the players right normally.
“He’s the one that says ‘no, you’re not doing that’, or ‘you’re doing that well, so keep doing it, you’re back on track’.
“They need help, and sometimes you have to criticise them to help them so they know where they’re going wrong.
“They’ve all got to work harder and concentrate on their own jobs, and then as a team, they’ve got to fight."
Saunders, who confirms he is looking at a couple of potential loan targets, is keen to ensure the club do not think they are “too good to be relegated”, and stay solid in the search for points which would ease any concerns at the wrong end of the table.
“It (relegation) crosses my mind, yes,” he added.
“Avoiding it crosses my mind, and what we’ve got to do to get away from it.
“We have to make sure we don’t think we’re better than we are, and that relegation can’t happen to us.
“We have to do the basics properly and stop the ball going into our net, and work from there.
“Everyone must have a clean-sheet mentality, which means the strikers must work from the front all the way back through the team so everyone is working to stop the ball going into our net.
“Then we win from that position.
“But you only win after you work, and that’s what we have to do to turn it around.
“The fans are clamouring for the next win all of the time but we played some great football at Leicester and didn’t win.
“So we’ve got to be a bit more difficult to beat because the goals we conceded at Leicester I wasn’t very happy with at all – they were too easy.
“We won’t be as easy to beat against Leeds, but they aren’t easy to beat either.
“They’ve got to where they are by being hard to play against and it will be a hard-fought game where no one gives an inch.
“We won’t be bullied by anyone – which apparently Wolves have been in the past – and it will definitely turn for us.
“I stand on the side of the pitch watching them train every day and they’re all bang at it – they know how important it is.”