Dougie Freedman knows he needs to restore the confidence of his players if he is to revive Nottingham Forest's ailing season.Freedman, the new manager at the City Ground, has inherited a talented but underachieving squad following the departure of Stuart Pearce, who was relieved of his duties on Sunday.
Pearce was sacked following a dismal home defeat to Millwall which left the Reds - early-season leaders of the Sky Bet Championship - languishing in mid-table obscurity and with only three wins from their last 21 league matches.
Forest's predicament puzzles Freedman, who has now taken training with his new players, but he can see where the problem lies.
"Confidence is low," said the 40-year-old. "I'm not up on my stats about it but I know there haven't been many wins in the last few months, so that's understandable.
"Confidence is low because of results, there's no doubt about that, and that needs to change quickly.
"But there's many things you can do to change it. You can turn that around by managing players. Results do it too.
"Many things can bring confidence back to a team. The message you put across or the way you put it across can help. It might be a change in personnel or systems.
"I'll find the way to do. It's important because confidence can breed results and then you can get momentum and confidence continues to grow and before you know it you're climbing up the table."
Promotion was the aim this season for Forest, but that will probably now have to be put on the backburne - the Reds are 12th in the table, 13 points adrift of the Play-Off places.
Freedman is more immediately concerned by the seven-point gap separating them from the bottom three clubs.
"I'm looking over my shoulder. The next six or seven teams behind us need keeping there. I'm being realistic," said the former Crystal Palace and Bolton boss.
"If you look at the squad, I shouldn't be saying that. But the run of results dictate that is the case so we need to start winning football matches.
"I've got to start winning games of football and not concern myself with things off the pitch. I just want to work with these players and have time out on the training field with the players, to try to affect results.
"We are only talking about everything else going on because we are not winning games. Winning football matches is my only concern. This squad is capable of winning football matches in this division."
Asked if promotion was now beyond Forest, Freedman replied: "When you are Nottingham Forest manager and you're asked if you can win promotion, you can never say 'no' as an answer.
"If anybody ever does say no, then they shouldn't be sitting here.
"I'm not saying I'm a miracle worker but I am realistic and I am looking over my shoulder at the moment.
"We need to win football matches at the moment but I can never sit here as Nottingham Forest manager and say 'no'."
Pearce's backroom team of Steve Wigley, Brian Eastick, Tim Flowers, Dave Galley and John Marshall all followed him out of the exit door.
Freedman, who has agreed a 18-month contract, will be assisted by Lenny Lawrence and plans to utilise the club's existing coaching staff to fill in any gaps.
"Lenny is coming in with me," he said. "He is somebody I've worked with a few times. He's vastly experienced - over 1,000 games in football, promotions, the lot. He's a good mentor to me and a good colleague who works in the trenches with me.
"I just felt I needed Lenny but I will also promote from within. People who are here will all chip in and then in the summer we'll look at it again. But for the moment, everyone will be chipping in."