DARYL Powell gave an honest appraisal of his Warrington Wolves side's current struggles following this afternoon's Challenge Cup exit at the hands of Wakefield Trinity.

Here is everything the Wire boss said in his post-match press conference...

Q: A very tough 80 minutes?

DP: It’s a common theme really – we’re getting put under pressure and we don’t handle it. We can’t handle it.

We just had a really good chat in there talking about player accountability for what we’re delivering. We’re 12-0 up but we can’t hold field position, our defence is incredibly soft at the moment and we just get rattled.

I don’t think at any point from Round One, we’ve handled being put under pressure.

We’re out of the Challenge Cup and I can’t tell you how disappointed I am, but we’ve got to have player accountability and they’ve got to fix themselves up in their heads.

We’re getting in positions where we’re in front – we had a great start against them last week as well – but as soon as they get rattled, we don’t handle it.

They’ve got to get a grip of their heads, the boys.

Warrington Guardian:

A dejected Warrington Wolves squad at the full-time hooter. Picture by Mike Boden

Q: This is serious now, isn’t it, the current situation?

DP: Of course it is.

Look, I’ve just said this to the players – I feel like I’m butting heads with some of them trying to get the way I want to play into them. That’s just being absolutely straight.

We aren’t really delivering on both sides of the ball and as I’ve just said, we need to get a grip of it as we’ve got a tough game next week.

When I was at Castleford, we beat Leeds by a massive scoreline in 2017 and they ended up winning the Grand Final that year. It’s early enough in the season to fix it up, but it’s also early enough in the season to be really ugly unless we fix it up.

So it was an open and honest chat with the players – they could say whatever they wanted.

Warrington Guardian:

Josh Thewlis' try had put The Wire 12-0 up early on. Picture by Mike Boden

Q: Was it almost a “clear the air” chat with the players?

DP: Well we’ve just got beat twice by Wakefield at home, we got beat by Catalans at home – it’s just ridiculous. It’s clearly not good enough and we have to do something about it.

The things that the players that are here at the moment can do – and there’s some high quality players here – is sort themselves out.

I just asked the question “how many players are playing consistently well?” and that’s none, if we’re being absolutely honest.

We have to become a team, which we’re not at the minute.

You go out there and you are a team but under pressure, that’s when a team really becomes strong and we don’t do that. We fold under pressure.

I think that’s happened certainly over the last four weeks. It’s there to see – everybody would say the same thing.

We’ve got to get a grip of it pretty quickly to get ourselves back on track.

Warrington Guardian:

Q: Would you use the term “panic button” and are there red lights flashing in your mind that this has got to stop? And could this get worse?

DP: Well it gets worse if we lose next week, doesn’t it?

We have to fix it up quickly and my point of view is that the players are under pressure – we’re all under pressure because we’ve lost four games straight.

The way to stop that is to come together and we have to become a stronger team through the adversity we’re facing.

At the minute, I don’t think many teams will fear playing against us and clearly, our fans are not going to be happy with the situation. I’m not happy with the situation, absolutely nobody is.

You need to be honest, get it all out there and move forwards.

We’re all working hard – I’m not saying we’re not working hard – but when we get under pressure when we get out there, it’s what we’re delivering that’s just so far away.

Q: Do you feel like there’s much more yourself and the coaches can really do? Does it all have to come from the players?

DP: We’re 12-0 up today – that’s a great platform from which to go and win a game.

If we get something wrong – give a penalty away, for example – we are under so much pressure and we cannot keep a team out on our own try line.

Some of that is effort, which is unacceptable really. Completely unacceptable.

I think the players have to sort their heads out, 100 per cent, but I will always be part of that. I’m the head coach and ultimately, I am responsible for performances.

We just keep working hard and giving the players everything we can, which I think we are doing. Then it’s just about buying into what we’re trying to do and getting on with it.

Clearly it’s not good enough and like I said, we’ve got no players who are playing consistently well and when I was playing the game, the responsibility for my own performance would lie pretty much solely at my door.

My preparation for playing the game had to be spot on and that’s exactly the same now. You’ve got to get your preparation right and mentally, you’ve got to be in a place where you can do what you need to do in a really tough arena.

It’s a tough arena, get over it and get on with it.

Warrington Guardian:

Q: What did the players say in response to you? Did they offer up any kind of explanation?

DP: They need to be a stronger team – they were talking about that. They need to be mentally stronger – they were talking about that, too.

They know, you have to be able to trust each other implicitly on a rugby field and at the moment, I don’t think we’ve got that. That’s what we’re after.

There’s no point hiding from it – it’s there for all to see.

We’ve got a lot of work to do and the issue once you get into the season is that you don’t train too much.

If you look at our training programme last week, we trained three times but time on the field is minimal. You have to manage load.

The players were fresh and ready to go today, but that didn’t show and it doesn’t show if you’re mentally not strong enough under pressure.

Q: What would be your message to supporters, some of whom are pretty quickly losing faith?

DP: 100 per cent they will be and I can fully understand that.

We have to turn it around quickly and what I’m saying is our players are accountable – as am I – for these performances that are clearly not good enough.

I don’t think we’ve played that well across the season if I’m honest and there are different reasons for that, some of them are not the players’ faults in terms of not having great pre-seasons and things like that.

I’m not going to make any excuses – as a group, we have to sort it out and the players have to get their heads sorted and get on with it.

There shouldn’t be any excuses for not performing well. It’s what they’re paid for.

First of all, we need to find quality performances from individuals and then consistent performances which we aren’t getting.

Last week was really poor and we haven’t got that much better this week. There were some signs in the first 20 minutes but we’re a 20-minute team at best at the moment.

You saw it against St Helens – we got 20 minutes but there’s not much more than that at the moment and we have to change that quickly.

Pictures by Mike Boden