Ireland and Stephen Kenny are desperately in need of a result against Scotland tomorrow.
Their opening two performances in the UEFA Nations League have been nothing short of disastrous, coming up well short against a pair of sides they would have been expected to beat in Armenia and a second choice Ukraine team. Considering the progress it was thought this team was making, the last week or so has been a massive disappointment.
Despite that, those in and around the camp remain upbeat. Stephen Kenny described Ukraine's winning goal in midweek as a 'fluke', while the players have maintained that they have played well for large portions of those games.
Gary Breen concerned by Stephen Kenny comments
However, Gary Breen is actually concerned by the current attitude of the squad and it manager.
Writing in the Irish Independent, the former Ireland defender said the players must accept that they haven't been good enough in the last two games.
Talk of regression rather than progression is harsh for them but they are behind where Kenny proclaimed they would be and where fans were led to believe they were.
No amount of spin can conclude differently. And yet, I have a nagging sense from sound bites coming out of the squad that they feel a little hard done by.
They need to take ownership of the results. The steadfast determination to focus on the positives and discard the negatives is actually concerning.
It’s the line Stephen Kenny regularly adopts and it has filtered down to the players.
Of course, I understand you have to move on quickly in elite football and not let the negatives smother you but to do that you also have to acknowledge the shortcomings.
It will be interesting to see if attitudes change tomorrow.
Ireland will be staring down the barrel of relegation if they come up short once again against Scotland, with their chances of topping the group likely already gone.
Breen believes that while it is encouraging to see the players got on well with each other, they need to demand more from their teammates on the pitch.
Are they demanding enough of each other?
It seems that any mistakes on the pitch are responded to with words of encouragement, applauding and thumbs up. I’m not talking about waving arms for dramatic effect.
People can see through that. But what I’m looking for is that edge which comes with a really exacting environment, almost a fear of being culpable.
There’s a mistaken popular belief that Roy Keane was the only demanding presence in my Ireland team – the reality was you were scolded verbally or a with a look of utter disdain by the majority of the lads for an error...
My generation had snarling types but the characters viewed as ‘nice guys’, like Kevin Kilbane or Matt Holland or Steve Finnan or Richard Dunne, they would all quickly show their teeth and respond to any shortcomings.
That’s not visible in this current generation and it needs to be.
Stephen Kenny has already said he will make changes to the team for tomorrow's game, something that is badly needed.
He will be hoping that an alteration in personnel can bring about a different result.