Burnley boss Sean Dyche rued his players' apparent stage fright in front of their own fans after a 1-0 defeat to Hull.
Stephen Quinn's lone second-half strike condemned the hosts to a fifth match without victory at Turf Moor and Dyche admits he has a crisis of confidence to address.
"It's one of them that was nearly but not quite and we've fallen on the wrong side of that lately," he said.
"There's too much fear in the group at the moment, (they are) playing with fear and you can't do that.
"There are too many playing in a constricted manner and it can come with big expectations.
"There's is a big expectation here, a really big expectation of being better, being in the top six and I spoke to the players about that.
"It's not going to go away, they've got to learn to deal with it but still have that freedom to go and play.
"There's good players out there and they're just not performing at the level that we expect them to - no lack of effort, it's just misguided effort at times.
"We're nearly performing. The margins are so, so, so fine. A very short while ago we were looking like a real positive, progressive side.
"I noticed last year's record was better away than at home so is it one where
the players have to deal with that expectation and learn to deal with it."