Nigel Pearson offered no excuses after Bristol City’s club-record run of home defeats was extended to seven games with a 2-0 loss to Stoke.
And the manager made it clear he would be monitoring the commitment level of all his players between now and the end of the Championship campaign.
Goals from Nick Powell and Steven Fletcher settled a game of few chances and left the Robins without a win at Ashton Gate since Pearson took over as manager in February.
Pearson said: “I can accept failure on the pitch if I think we have given ourselves the best chance. Today we didn’t have enough players out there showing the right qualities.
“That’s something I don’t like to admit because it’s my team and my responsibility.
“I have no qualms about making tough decisions. What we want over the rest of the season is players who are committed to playing for us.
“A performance like that puts things in question. I saw some real strength of character in two or three players and that’s something I will reflect upon.
“But we didn’t have the collective fight to overcome the issues we had today. The longer a run like this goes on the harder it is to break it.
“It is partly a mental and partly a physical thing. We have had too many injuries this season and need to be more robust.
“The players are as disappointed as anyone. But the fact is we are not good at responding to setbacks and that is something which needs to improve.
“The performance simply wasn’t good enough. But I will be back at work tomorrow determined to put things right.”
Stoke boss Michael O’Neill was happy with a third straight clean sheet and a committed display from his team.
He said: “There is a positive mood around our club at the moment and I expected a good performance.
“Nick Powell has played in a number of positions for us and was in a number 10 role today. Wherever he plays, his end product is very good.
“We have a couple of free-kick routines on the edge of the box and I like to see the ball moved before a shot is taken.
“Steven Fletcher took control of the situation today and it was a fantastic strike from a quality player.
“I was pleased with the way we defended and controlled the game. Adam Davies has made one big save for us at a vital time, but we managed to handle any threat Bristol posed.
“We are where we are in the table because of a run in which we drew too many games. Now the aim is simply to win as many as possible of those we have remaining.
“We knew Bristol were on a poor run at home. But our approach to the game was all about us, rather than dwelling on that.
“I felt we could have got better balls into the box in the first half, but overall I am delighted with our first away win in a while.”