Essendon coaching great Kevin Sheedy refutes his former pupil Matthew Lloyd's assertion that the Bombers are no longer a great club, and has urged the current team to play more like their coach John Worsfold used to.
Champion full-forward Lloyd made his comments on Melbourne radio over the weekend after the Bombers lost to previously winless Carlton by 13 points.
Sheedy acknowledged Lloyd's comments could further damage the players' already-eroded confidence, but insisted the Bombers are still a great club.
"Essendon will always be a great club because of their history," said Sheedy, who coached the Bombers to four premierships in his 27-year tenure, and is a current member of staff.
"The most premierships in the AFL along with Carlton and they get some of the greatest crowds of all time to the games.
"What he (Lloyd) is saying is that they're not a great footy team at the moment - that's a different analysis ... and if you're not winning games, you've got to be looked at and that's fair enough."
While Sheedy agreed Essendon were down on confidence, he said that history was littered with examples of things turning around in a short space of time.
"You know that sport is between the ears," he said.
"I played with teammates who are superstar players but just cannot find the ball and cannot kick a goal when they need it and then, all of a sudden, within a month's time they can.
"It's very difficult but you've got to get back and work hard to find that sort of dedication to make sure that your confidence will never be shattered for long.
"I lost 240 games at Essendon as a coach - that's 11 years I drove home losing but I haven't lost my confidence, I can assure you."
Sheedy said coach John Worsfold would need to arrive at Tullamarine this week as "the most positive person in the history of club" for the Bombers to be any hope of beating top-four fancies Geelong this week.
He stopped short of suggesting Worsfold should wield the axe for the game, but he did provide a possible solution for Essendon's horrible form.
"What I like about watching the Tigers is ... they all play like (coach) Damien Hardwick," he said of the former hard-nosed defender who played in a similar fashion to Worsfold.
"I just want everybody at Essendon to play like 'Woosha' (Worsfold) and I'll be really happy."