Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum believes the players put too much pressure on themselves as they sought to correct a run of poor results.
In the month from January 2 to February 4 the Reds won once (against SkyBet League Two side Plymouth) in just 10 matches as they exited two cup competitions and dropped out of the top four for the first time since September.
Wijnaldum thinks focusing on trying to get themselves out of that hole actually had the opposite effect and it was only the defeat at Hull which proved to be the turning point which led to a first league win of 2017 over Tottenham at the weekend.
“We are hurting from every poor performance and every bad result. That is how it is. You have to go on,” said the Holland international after it emerged the players held a clear-the-air meeting last Thursday in an attempt to put things right again.
“I don’t think we had the pressure of the title race, that came more from the outside.
“Of course you know if you have poor results it is more difficult to win the title but we still have second, third, fourth place and we must finish as high as possible at the end of the season.
“I think in some situations we put too much pressure on ourselves and that is why it went so wrong.
“If you have a few poor games in a row you are going to put pressure on yourself of ‘We have to win this one or this and this will happen’.
“I think we were too busy thinking about the consequences than concentrating on the game.
“Last week we were only concentrating on Tottenham: how we can play against them, how we can hurt them and so on.
“The focus was different than a few weeks before. That is my opinion.
“There was a lot of pressure on us because only in the biggest games have we shown how good we are.”
With no match this coming weekend because of the FA Cup the players have been given two days’ off but will return on Wednesday to fly out to La Manga in Spain for a warm-weather training camp.
Their only match left this month is at Leicester on February 27 but that Monday night game will be postponed if Claudio Ranieri’s side need a replay to get past Millwall, whom they play this weekend in the fifth round of the FA Cup.