Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce has told his players to start being braver and deliver more consistent performances if they are to get the fans back onside.
The Eagles take on Middlesbrough at Selhurst Park on Saturday with the 4-0 defeat by Sunderland in their last home outing still fresh in the memory.
Allardyce was asked at his pre-match media conference if the relegation six-pointer might produce a tension-filled atmosphere.
He said: “I think that nerves play a big part for everybody in tomorrow’s game – it’s how you control your nerves.
“The fans could pass that little bit of nervous tension over to the players and vice versa, so we’ve all got to try and stay positive.
“It’s our responsibility as professionals to deliver, to help the fans overcome their nervous edge.
“It’s difficult to deal with being at the bottom for so long but we have to deal with it.
“If we want to get out of it, we have to be brave enough to deal with the pressure we are under and the players have to deliver their best performances consistently.”
Despite being firmly in the Premier League’s bottom three, and with just four points from Allardyce’s eight games in charge, the former England manager believes Palace have it what takes to turn it around.
“There’s plenty of points to play for,” he said.
“If we can tomorrow it’ll be great, if we can give the fans something to cheer, that will be great.
“I think that if you want the fans to get behind you, you have to show how committed you are and give them something to shout about. They’re desperate to do that, the fans here.”