A dejected Wellington Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante says the team needs to "look at ourselves" after Sunday's 3-1 loss to Newcastle at Hunter Stadium.
Phoenix remains outside the six after the loss and their momentum has seemingly stalled.
The home side took a commanding 3-0 lead despite a 58th minute red card to their midfielder Ben Kantarovski.
Phoenix substitute Matthew Ridenton’s late effort was some consolation for the visitors. But it was too little too late for Wellington despite a good chance to Michael McGlinchey.
“Extremely disappointing. We saw this one as a game we could definitely win,” a frustrated Durante told ABC Radio Grandstand.
“And if we want to be serious about the top six, we need to beat teams below us.
“At the moment we’re not doing that and it’s very disappointing.
“We found them hard to break down,” he added, describing the Jets as very defensive.
“They got us on the counter-attack and we let them off the hook with cheap penalties and cheap goals which seem to be happening regularly for us.
“We have no-one else to blame but ourselves.
“We’re halfway through the season and we have to take a real hard look at ourselves.
“It’s been hard, we’ve had a lot of suspensions and injured players so every time you look around you have different players, so we need to get that consistency and our best eleven on the park as often as possible.
“And we’re a very good team but at the moment we’re struggling to win.”
Phoenix are now in seventh spot, four points behind Adelaide United in sixth spot.
Ernie Merrick’s men next travel to Melbourne City on Monday in Round 16 action.