Newcastle coach Scott Miller has challenged anyone laying "unwarranted criticism" on his team to remember the depths from which they have come.
The eighth-placed Jets lost their ninth consecutive A-League match at home to Melbourne Victory on Sunday, in a blow to a side that had started the season so promisingly.
A lack of resources available to the FFA-owned club have not made things easy, especially given injuries have forced constant rotation of a squad that had little depth to start with.
Another dagger has been the absence of Brazilian playmaker Leonardo, who has managed only seven appearances because of a recurring knee injury, while Serbian striker Milos Trifunovic has recently struggled in front of goal.
But while ruing that his team had not "rewarded themselves" against Victory, Miller observed a lack of understanding from some outside quarters of how much the club as a whole has achieved since last season's wooden spoon during the ill-fated Nathan Tinkler era.
"I think we've got some unwarranted criticism throughout the year overall," Miller said.
"From where the club was to where it is now is a great improvement, and total respect to the playing group for their responsibility and effort so far.
"It's not about being disappointed, it's about being focused on achieving something here this year that derives from stability, but also maximising the opportunity and over-achieving.
"There's been a balance of the two of late ... and that's a team in rebuild."
Miller was loath to address some unflattering statistics, including a 469-minute goalless stretch across a club-record five matches - only one match less than the now-defunct New Zealand Knights' all-time record of six back in 2006.
"Stats are there for journalism, and to point out failure or achievements," he said.
"We look at the facts, and we look at improving a team individually and technically.
"That's our focus, not stats.
"Because the tide will turn - fortunately for Melbourne (Victory), their tide turned, and we were the ones that allowed them to do so."
Trifunovic has four goals to his name this season, but has not found the back of the net in his last six showings.
It was a drought Miller said had more to do with the quality of service than a fault of his own or lack of confidence.
"He's not going to be a Mark Bridge ie last week, taking on Daniel Mullen inside the box," he said.
"It's a one-touch finish either with his head or from crosses.
"We're failing to give him the right service, so it's not about his confidence."
Asked if Trifunovic ever felt frustrated by the lack of service, Miller replied: "It's not his job to be frustrated, it's his job to score."