Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder says his side's hopes of staying in the Premier League are all but over after their 21st league defeat of the season, at home to Liverpool.
The 53-year-old Englishman guided the Blades to an impressive ninth-place finish in their first season back in the top flight in 2019/20.
But this campaign has been a real struggle and, with 12 games remaining, they are rooted to the bottom of the table, 15 points adrift of fourth-from-bottom Newcastle.
"I'm sure nobody will be critical of me saying this is an incredibly tough situation to be in and one we don't look as if we're going to get out of," Wilder said after his team lost 2-0 at home to the champions on Sunday.
"Take a step back to move forward, know where you want to be," he added. "Stick together, work hard and go again.
"I think that's being realistic in the position we are. I can't dress it up any other way... the points, the games we have got left and the form that we're in."
The Sheffield United manager said the gulf in resources between his club and others had become starkly apparent.
"I'm looking at the faces in the changing room, they are giving everything," he said. "This is a really tough gig for them.
"Our model, the best we can do, is try to buy the best Championship (second-tier) players. Sometimes you're just not good enough and don't have the quality to compete.
"You need a bit more in this division because it's brutal and it exposes you."