Tony Mowbray believes he needs to lift Middlesbrough psychologically to get them back in the npower Championship promotion picture.
A second away defeat to struggling opponents in the space of four days, 2-0 at Bristol City, continued the club's slump since the New Year as battling City lifted themselves off the bottom of the table.
Mowbray said: "I have to put a positive spin on our position because if we were just off the play-off places having been mid-table all season we would be happy enough. Because we have fallen away from the top of the table since the New Year, in a similar way to last season, there is a lot of negativity and I have to turn that around.
"Conceding two late goals at Huddersfield in midweek hit the players hard and it took a couple of days to recover. But we changed formation from that game and started this one in control.
"Sammy Ameobi was ruled out with a hamstring problem and we missed him. We must have made 500 or 600 passes without getting a meaningful strike on goal."
City had what few chances there were and after taking four home points in a week against Brighton and Boro, they will fancy their chances of beating the drop.
Head coach Sean O'Driscoll said: "I can't fault the players since I have been at the club. They understand what we are trying to do, but it is one thing to talk about a plan and another to do what is necessary to carry it out.
"We lost Cole Skuse to a family bereavement just before the game and Jon Stead to a groin injury early on. But the players coming in when needed are doing a great job and it's a real squad effort.
"I never look at the league table because I don't believe there is any point. I believe in keeping on with the same emphasis on the basics and getting my team organised whatever position they are in.
"When we lose the ball we look to get it back as quickly as possible. At the moment we are concentrating on being hard to break down because we are not ready to play expansive football."