Fuming Simon Grayson has slammed his Sunderland players for being a 'soft touch' after they were thrashed 5-2 at Ipswich Town.
Grayson revealed one of the younger players had even labelled his teammates the same in the dressing room inquest.
The latest abject performance means Sunderland are now two points adrift in the Championship drop zone after 10 games.
Defensively the Black Cats were shambolic and fell behind to a sixth-minute glancing header from Martyn Waghorn.
Billy Jones equalised four minutes later but it was downhill from there, Ipswich running riot with Mick McCarthy’s side looking like they were going to score every time they attacked.
Further goals from Jordan Spence, Bersant Celina, David McGoldrick and sub Grant Ward condemned Sunderland to a dismal defeat.
And Grayson, under increasing pressure to turn the season around quickly, hit out.
Grayson said: "It’s probably summed up when you go into the dressing room and one of the younger lads says, ‘we’re soft as such and such’ - and he’s right.
"We’re too easy to play against, the opposition have too much time on the ball. They get two easy goals, that affects us, we don’t do enough to stop the opposition from playing.
"At this level you have to stop the opposition then you can go and play, we haven’t done that again.
"I’m not going to say the players don’t care because they do, but they’re not doing enough to stop the opposition. Every time the ball went into the box for the first 25 minutes it looked like they were going to score."
Grayson called on his players to show more desire, adding: "We can keep using that word [confidence] and to be fair I’m sick of using it.
"Players are getting paid handsomely and getting paid to do what millions of people are desperate to do, yeah you can have a lack of confidence but that doesn’t stop you getting the tackle in, stopping the opposition, getting close to them, defending the box.
"I can accept a lack of confidence on the ball, it becomes more important then, but its more about an inner desire to make sure you’re not a soft touch and we are at the moment."
When queried about the lack of organisation within the Sunderland team, Grayson said: "We’re not at this moment in time, I’ve got a group of players here til January, I can’t go and get new players.
"They’ve not been helped by injuries, Jonny Williams was meant to be with us but was ill again, Wilson gets injured, McManaman and Oviedo weren’t 100% fit.
"It’s not been ideal the last couple of weeks, I’ve not been able to do the preparation that I’d like to do on the grass. I don’t get to know my team until probably two, three hours before a game on the Saturday.
"We tried to make changes to make things happen, ultimately the decisions we’re making are not working at this moment in time."