Andrew Strauss insists England must avoid playing with fear "like the plague" after going 3-0 behind in the one-day series against Australia.
England were bowled out for 214 with Jonathan Trott's unbeaten 84 the only high note, as they slipped to a four-wicket defeat in Sydney on Sunday.
The loss means the tourists must now win the remaining four matches to take the series, starting with game four in Adelaide on Wednesday.
Strauss blamed soft dismissals for England's poor batting display at the SCG - but stressed the need for the top order to continue to attack.
"It's not the best, certainly not the batting," Strauss told Sky Sports. "The bowling and fielding were a step up from before but when you're scoring 215 you're not going to win too many games.
"There were too many soft dismissals. Jonathan Trott did well batting through the innings but he needed someone with him."
Asked if England were starting to play with fear, he added: "I hope not, because that's to be avoided like the plague.
"You want guys to go out and play freely and if they think the shot's on, take the shot on.
"There are a couple of guys not in brilliant nick at the moment and they need to get themselves in to form, but ultimately you can start chasing your tail wondering why this is not happening or that is not happening.
"The thing to do is to go out and play the next game with freedom."
Matt Prior's position at the top of the order will come under further scrutiny after he was out for a duck for the second successive match.
However Strauss confirmed Prior, who was a surprise selection in England's World Cup squad, will get another chance to open the batting in Adelaide.
"I don't think (it will change) - I think I will be opening with him," he said. "We've got to give him an opportunity to get used to the role again. We're still very happy with his capabilities at the top of the order.
"He's done very well in the field, but obviously we need some contributions from him."
Brett Lee, who claimed three wickets with the ball, believes Australia's confidence is now high following the disappointment of their Ashes defeat.
"Collectively as a side we're playing very well," the paceman said. "We're bowling well and then Huss (Dave Hussey) the finisher came in to end it.
"But everyone chipped in, we bowled well, we were good in the field, and I think in the last three games we've shown we've improved in every facet of the game.
"Confidence is such a major thing, but looking back to the first Twenty20 in Adelaide, we lost that by only one ball, it was very close, we won the next one and it's grown from there.
"We're gathering momentum, the lads have got their backs up, we're charging in and hitting the ball in the right spots."