Everton manager Frank Lampard said his players must stay positive and hold onto the belief they will start to win games after another demoralising defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Everton were the better side in the opening period but fell behind to a Conor Coady header early in the second half and then struggled to create a chance of substance against a resolute Wolves defence.
Only bottom side Norwich City (one) have managed fewer points than Everton (three) in the six league games since Lampard took charge, and the Merseyside club are sitting precariously above the relegation zone on goal-difference only.
"I thought we were the better side in the first half," Lampard told BBC Sport. "Wolves always give you a tight game, they don’t score many but they don’t concede much. They are a well-organised team.
"We played well, just not getting the goal. We had a few good chances that didn’t go our way. The goal changed the game in a big sense because it brought out more of the nervousness from us."
Everton do have three games in hand on both Watford below them, and Leeds United and Brentford above, starting with another home clash against Newcastle United on Thursday.
"There are 12 games to go, so a long way to go. We are understanding of that. There are a lot of games where we need to keep the mental strength," Lampard said.
"We must keep our heads up. The players gave everything, there were some moments of quality that we want to be better at. That happens when you are in the situation we are in.
"The important thing is to remain positive. I think we were slightly unfortunate when you look at both halves and how it ended up."
Lampard admits he is fearful that losing has become a habit for his side.
"You get used to the feeling of losing games and not getting points. That is something that doesn’t turn around quickly, it takes a lot of work," he said.
"We must stay together, and know there are a lot of games to get the points we need."