St Patrick's Athletic manager Liam Buckley has admitted they need a 'minor miracle' to get back in the title race after Friday's 2-0 defeat to champions Dundalk.
The Saints now sit in fifth place, 16 points off the in-form Louth men, and the defending cup holders will now turn their focus to Friday's FAI Cup meeting with Shamrock Rovers in an attempt to inject some spark into their season.
"It would be a minor miracle for them (Dundalk) to lose six games, I don't see them doing that," conceded Buckley.
"From our point of view, it's not about winning the league, it's about winning the next match. I know we've the cup and then it's the next league game. There are European spots to play for, there are only three of them. We have to pick ourselves up.
"I've been disappointed with how we have performed this season. We've only done it in fits and starts. We've lost some stupid games and our performances haven't merited us being higher up the table at times."
Dundalk now hold a six-point lead over Cork at the top of the table with a game in hand, but Stephen Kenny is adamant that this dressing room will remain focused.
"They're quite a level-headed group and they're quite driven, but they're ambitious and there's nothing wrong with ambition," he stressed.
"Ambition has to be applauded but you have to back it up with commitment to your profession, how you train and prepare.
"If you have a desire to improve, you can achieve that. I think the players can see with their eyes, week after week, an improvement, and we want to keep getting better.
"It is still early in the season so we are not getting ahead of ourselves. We have a very heavy programme ahead."