Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster admitted his side’s confidence is “crazy low” after a 4-0 defeat by Manchester City plunged them into the relegation zone.
Nigel Pearson was sacked as Hornets boss on Sunday, with Hayden Mullins put in charge for the final two games.
But the thrashing by City in the first of those, coupled with Aston Villa’s win over Arsenal, means Watford’s fate is now out of their own hands.
“We have to look at ourselves,” Foster told Sky Sports.
“The confidence is so crazy, crazy low, I don’t know why it should be, but you get into a state of trying to minimise as much damage as you can and it’s a dangerous way to do things.”
Pearson was the third permanent manager to be sacked by Watford this season. After arriving in December with the club bottom of the table, he won seven of his 20 games, and left them just outside the relegation zone with two games left.
Now, though, they have just one game to save themselves and even a win at Arsenal on Sunday may not be enough.
The Hornets must better the result of Villa, who are level with them on 34 points but are a goal better off and travel to West Ham on the final day.
The Hammers themselves are not yet mathematically safe, although a point in their game in hand against Manchester United on Wednesday would achieve this, while 19th-placed Bournemouth could yet stay up if they win at Everton and Watford and Villa both lose.
‘We have to stick together as a club, as a unit, as a squad’
Caretaker boss Mullins took a much more positive stance than his goalkeeper on the club’s position.
“You have to remember when you are a player and you are out on the pitch for 90 minutes, it feels a lot different,” he said. “When he [Foster] gets in tomorrow. it will be a completely different outlook.”
Mullins also feels it is key that the side stick together if they are to avoid returning to the Championship, where they last played in 2014-15.
“We have some big characters in the dressing room and we need to be ready for a big game on Sunday,” he told BBC Sport.
“It is the business end of the season and it has come down to two tough games – City today and then Arsenal. It is about us now, recuperating, getting ready, sticking together as a club, as a unit, as a squad.
“We need the players pulling in the same direction and believing in the one common goal of getting a result against Arsenal to stay in the division.
“It is a tough league, it is a challenge, but it is about getting those players up for the challenge and positive again.”
‘Talk about a hospital pass!’
Former Premier League striker Chris Sutton on BBC Radio 5 Live:
I have so much sympathy for Hayden Mullins. Talk about being handed a hospital pass. Of course he wants the job, but facing Manchester City after they have just lost a semi-final – it is a nightmare situation.
He has it all to do and I think it is actually unfair on him to take over in this situation.
Was he going to get a real response out of the players? I think they will be shell-shocked with what has gone on at the club, not just this week but the whole season. It will have knocked them for six and he has to go and try to get them motivated.