Gary Roberts insists Wigan Athletic are paying too high a price for their mistakes against the cream of the Championship.
Latics have slipped down the table in recent weeks after four defeats on the spin.
However, the last three of those – Sheffield United, Leeds and Middlesbrough – came against sides who moved to the top of the table.
And Roberts feels that has led to an unfair reflection of how the side has been performing.
“We made two mistakes at Middlesbrough, and we were punished by conceding two goals,” he told the Wigan Post.
“On the whole, I thought we played okay on the day.
“But the higher up you go in this game – and it’s an even bigger step to the Premier League – you come up against more and more quality.
“There’s some top players in this league, and you have to respect their ability.
“But at the same time we’re also disappointed that our hard work during the week didn’t amount to anything.
“We went there with a plan, we thought we could keep the ball, and frustrate them.
“We just don’t seem to be able to get that goal, and the goals at the other end have killed us.”
After sweeping to the League One title in Paul Cook’s first season in charge, now is perhaps the toughest period since the club suffered relegation in the summer of 2017.
“The dressing room after Middlesbrough was low after the game, very low,” admitted Roberts.
“It means so much to the players, the staff, everyone.
“We see our fans travelling all that way, and it hurts us just as much as it hurts them to get beat.
“I think the international break will do us good, and the gaffer will be able to get into us and lift us.
“We’ve got some games coming up against teams who aren’t pushing near the top of the division, and we’ll look to take advantage of that.
“Listen, we know it was going to be tough coming up into this league.
“There’s some top teams in here, and we’ve had a few of those in a row in the last few weeks.
“Now we’ve got a few games against the teams who you’d expect to be around us, we’ll be able to pick up some points and get moving again.”
Having worked with Cook at Chesterfield and Portsmouth prior to following him to Wigan, Roberts is perfectly placed to assess the mindset of the gaffer.
“He doesn’t like losing, it obviously hurts him,” Roberts said. “But he’s a good manager, he’ll bounce back and he’ll make sure we bounce back.
“There’s no magic formula to turning this around. He’ll just work harder – we all will.
“The thing is, we’re not really getting battered by anyone, passed out of the games, bullied by teams.
“It’s just fine margins all over the place, but those one per cents do add up.”