Nigel Reo-Coker has called on his Bolton team-mates to stand up and be counted as they battle to beat the Premier League drop.
The Trotters were held to a 1-1 home draw by Swansea on Saturday to sit second-from-bottom of the top-flight table, four points from safety, although they have played two matches fewer than their rivals.
Reo-Coker felt the draw with the Swans was more like a defeat and he has urged his team-mates to raise their game, starting at fellow strugglers Aston Villa on Tuesday.
He told The Sun: "I'm not happy. This was a game we should have won and the draw feels like a loss.
"Today, towards the end, we looked flat. We needed more energy and belief.
"That can't come from management on the bench. It's up to us as players to take responsibility.
"Really and truly we must dig deep and show we're men and not boys if we want to stay in the top flight."
Owen Coyle's side have had to cope with Fabrice Muamba's collapse at Tottenham and fixture congestion but Reo-Coker is not looking for excuses to their present predicament.
He said: "We can't keep making excuses and looking for an easy way out. Blame this, blame that. No, that's all bull***t.
"We're paid to play football, that's the bottom line.
"When we cross that white line, whatever the burdens or problems, you must let them go.
"This is our job, our occupation, you can't make excuses. We need to step up.
"It's time to stand up and be counted and see the seriousness of it.
"We have five games left and must get results. Every match is a cup final. That's the reality - no sugar coating it."