Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has defended his team against accusations they are lacking motivation.
The Eagles have lost their last six games and go to Europa League-chasing Wolves on Monday.
They have also scored just twice – in the 3-2 defeat to Chelsea – since beating Bournemouth 2-0 in their first game back since lockdown in June.
Palace were safe before the season was halted in March by the coronavirus pandemic but results have been wretched since they returned, leaving Hodgson to deny they have the wrong mentality.
He said: “That’s the worst thing. Those are the type of accusations that will be launched towards you.
“But in actual fact if you watch the games and people analyse them, I would defy them to say the results have been a lack of motivation.
“There have been lots and lots of things you could put a finger on, which have not helped us getting a result. Personally I don’t think motivation has been a factor at all. In football there are chestnuts. That’s the classic chestnut.
“When you lose or start to lose games, it’s always you are not fit enough, you are not motivated enough, the team selection is wrong etc.
“They are just thrown out, often erroneously, but as a coach you have to accept it’s thrown out there. You know as a coach it’s not true but you cannot stop journalists throwing it out there at you.”
Patrick van Aanholt is out and needs surgery on the shoulder he dislocated in last week’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, Luka Milivojevic (knee) is a doubt while Gary Cahill (hamstring) is sidelined for the rest of the season and Christian Benteke is banned.
Wolves are looking to qualify for Europe next season with Palace sitting 14th and Hodgson feels his side have deserved more from their performances.
“These are periods you go through sometimes. Obviously it’s frustrating and disturbing because one would like things to always be on an even keel and as a coach always hoping when we play well we get results,” he said.
“When you do play well and don’t get results, it’s even more frustrating and disturbing.”