Keith Andrews believes the squad is still adapting to the new manager’s style of play, but admits the players must take responsibility for Saturday’s defeat against Ipswich Town.
Mark Davies’ sixth-minute strike had given the Whites the lead, but two second-half goals from DJ Campbell and Michael Chopra snatched victory for Mick McCarthy’s side, as Dougie Freedman’s unbeaten start at the Reebok came to an end.
Midfielder Andrews was understandably disappointed after the final whistle, and believes the players have to improve their mentality in the final 20 minutes to ensure that they see out games.
Speaking after the Ipswich game, Andrews said: “As a group of players we need to be stronger. The senior players will have seen it and heard it before and as a team we need to remain focus and close out these games.
“Regardless of what the fans are saying - or if they want the ball to be going forward quicker - we need to be stronger and say ‘no, we need to go backwards to go forward for the next two.’
“That’s the way the manager wants to play, a passing style.
“I’m sure people will scrutinise every possible reason for why we haven’t produced. But from a players’ point of view we have to hold our hands up and say we didn’t hit the heights we should have done.
“As a player you obviously want to play every game but with the intensity and the regularity of the games in this league, the sports science, and the quality within the squad, the manager feels he can chop and change – and up until now it’s been successful.
“The manager has worked hard on the system he wants to play. Training has been very intense and there has been a lot of off-the-field video meetings. Regardless of what position you are playing, you come into it and know what you are doing. As players it’s up to us to take it on board.”