Interim coach Craig Deans says Newcastle's players are letting nobody down but reckons it's time for him to be replaced if the club are to flourish and climb off the bottom of the A-League standings.
The last-placed Jets suffered a fourth-straight defeat in Friday's 2-1 loss to the Phoenix in Wellington but were desperately unlucky not to end their eight-match winless run after creating a wealth of opportunities.
Deans stepped in to replace the sacked Ernie Merrick but has overseen three losses, albeit competitive displays, against highly ranked opponents.
However, he said the players would benefit from having the new coach in place as soon as possible.
Welshman Carl Robinson appears poised to take charge but Jets management are yet to confirm the appointment of the former Vancouver Whitecaps mentor.
"If you look at the team, they don't look like a team that's lacking direction," Deans said.
"But it might just be that little extra push that we don't have at the moment, knowing that the person that's in charge is going to be there for a longer period of time and they're able to make some big changes if they want to.
"At the moment we're in a bit of a holding pattern."
With fit-again skipper Nigel Boogaard back from long-term injury, the Jets were composed and creative in Wellington.
They were desperately unlucky not to score more than Abdiel Arroyo's lone second-half strike in a performance further soured by what appears to be a season-ending knee injury suffered by centre back Lachlan Jackson.
Deans' switch from a 4-4-2 formation to 5-3-2 paid dividends, as fullbacks Matthew Millar and Bobby Burns found acres of wide space to run into, helping to generate 28 shots on goal.
Despite the encouraging display, Deans said another loss and Jackson's injury was another major blow for a proud group of players as they eye home games against Western United and Central Coast over the next two weekends.
"It's devastating and as a club we're in a situation that we don't want to be in and we're not proud of," he said.
"We've got too much quality to be in the situation that we're in.
"We're waiting to go ahead in a game. Once we see that happen, you'll see a change of attitude and mindset from the players."
Australian Associated Press