Skipper Ryan Shawcross insists Stoke City have to take responsibility for their own shortcomings as they look forward to a vital visit from Queens Park Rangers.
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Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Norwich came complete with controversy over several free-kick decisions, including the one from which Bradley Johnson scored the only goal just before half-time.
But Shawcross, the lynchpin of Tony Pulis's usually powerful defence, believes his side should come up with an answer as to why they conceded a crucial headed goal from a midfielder measuring only 5ft 8in.
"It was disappointing," the England squad member said. "We wanted to win and came away with a poor performance and no points.
"I thought the referee didn't give the free-kick and then the linesman did. But it is one of those things. You have to deal with the free-kick and we didn't.
"It's not our greatest performance. We can't get away from that. It's something we need to improve on."
Shawcross thinks Stoke are clutching at straws by continually struggling to get their season up and running and then coming up with excuses.
Although they had an unkind run of fixtures against the Premier League's big hitters, they have now taken only one point out of six from two much more comfortable-looking matches - at home to Sunderland and away to Norwich.
They have failed scored to score in either game, with Kenwyne Jones on the end of their better chances at Carrow Road in the absence of Michael Owen, who was missing with a hamstring injury.
Shawcross believes the second half was more promising and added: "Kenwyne had one chance which he probably should have put away and there were a few other half-chances.
"It is a team game and we all need to work harder to get some more goals and keep more clean sheets." Saturday's visit of a Rangers side still without a league victory is now looming as something of a six-pointer for Stoke.