Nathan Buckley concedes Collingwood's concerns extend well beyond personnel issues, with the Magpies' AFL finals hopes just about shot after an Anzac Day defeat to arch-rivals Essendon.
The Pies lost Jeremy Howe (hamstring), Jordan De Goey, Chris Mayne and Levi Greenwood (all concussion) before Sunday's 24-point loss at the MCG, with the experienced quartet joining Jamie Elliott (leg) and Taylor Adams (knee) on the sidelines.
However, Buckley refused to use the injuries as an excuse for the result as a raft of skill errors proved costly against the desperate Bombers on the big stage in the traditional blockbuster clash.
The out-of-contract coach also denied speculation over his future beyond the 2021 season was a distraction for his players as the Magpies (1-5) turn their attention towards a crunch clash with Gold Coast in round seven.
"We want to win games of footy but we're not playing well enough at the moment," Buckley said.
"There's positives to take from (the Essendon game) but we just didn't have the weight of numbers go our way tonight and we just didn't play with any efficiency at all.
"The challenge in our season is to improve those first and foremost, regardless of who we play or who plays."
Buckley was pleased with the form of Josh Daicos, Isaac Quaynor and Darcy Cameron, who all performed well against Essendon.
But Collingwood's general field-kicking was so poor that Buckley felt the need to ask his players at halftime whether there was an issue with the commemorative Anzac Day guernseys.
The one-off strips had been a talking point during the build-up because of a perceived clash between the two sides' predominantly black jumpers.
The players denied the clash was an issue.
"It was not an outlier night but it was a poor evening, especially with our kicking," Buckley said.
"Kicking efficiency wasn't just down, it was actually picking them out. When we had players that were five metres clear, we kept picking them out.
"We had enough time and space with ball in hand, so it wasn't as if that guy was under real heat, but our clanger numbers were through the roof."
Buckley is hopeful explosive star De Goey will return against Gold Coast at the MCG on Saturday.
"(Injuries aren't) the only issue we have," Buckley said.
"I'm not about to sit here and say we can't win with who we've got.
"That's a defeatist attitude that we won't take, so we need to make more of what we've got."