Allan Jenkins believes Ballymena United have “a lot of hard work ahead” as they attempts to reverse their recent mini-slump.
The Sky Blues skipper insists his side must step up their performance levels after a dismal recent run of form which has seen Ballymena drop from among the early season pacesetters to a mid-table position.
The latest setback came in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Portadown, where the Sky Blues relinquished a first half lead.
“In the first half our gameplan was perfect,” said the Scot.
“It wasn’t a great game or a great performance but we got ourselves in front and gave ourselves something to hold on to.
“We got our instructions at half-time to keep doing what we were doing and get the ball down and play because we were kicking into the wind and we didn’t do that - instead we played into Portadown’s hands by knocking it long.
“We were expecting Portadown to put us under pressure but I thought we were nullifying them until unfortunately we lost Johnny (Taylor), who’s a massive player for us.
“The goals we gave away were horrendous, real schoolyboy stuff.
“We’re not into pointing fingers at people, we all take responsibility, but at the moment we’re finding it hard to keep the goals out.
“At the minute we’re needing to score three goals to win matches and the best teams in the world can’t even do that.
“It’s not down to a lack of effort but over the last three or four weeks it has maybe been down to a lack of quality.
“As the captain, I take particular responsibility for my own performances which haven’t been good enough and a number of the other players could probably say the same.
“You can sometimes get by carrying one or two players but not when you’re carrying seven or eight.
“We started the season so well and took all the plaudits that came our way.
“Unfortunately now, the way football goes, we need to take the criticism at present and if players are left out of the team, that’s the manager’s prerogative. He has told us in no uncertain terms that that’s a possibility.
“There’s enough quality within our squad that if changes are made, they won’t rock the boat too much - we just need something to spark us into life at the minute.
“Physically and mentally we can do a lot better than we’re doing at present.
“I’m in the game long enough to know that you have to keep working hard and it will turn eventually.
“My own season has been stop-start - in fact, in the past few weeks, it hasn’t even been a start!
The good thing about this league is that you don’t have anything to fear from any opponment - we know we’re capable of competing against any side in this division,” added Jenkins.