Borussia Dortmund's under-fire boss Lucien Favre was warned on Saturday that results must improve, but stars Marco Reus and Mats Hummels insist it is the players who are under-performing, not their Swiss coach.
Favre's fate could well be decided by Wednesday's Champions League match at Barcelona after senior club figures discussed the situation late into Friday night following a woeful 3-3 draw with Paderborn.
"Our situation is more than unsatisfactory," director of sport Michael Zorc told media group Funke Sport on Saturday in a clear warning to Favre.
"We are analysing things very intensively, but we are going into the game in Barcelona with Lucien Favre and expect to see a clear improvement in performance there."
On Friday, Dortmund were 3-0 down at half-time at home to the Bundesliga's bottom club and whistled off the pitch by their own fans after the first 45 minutes.
Only a fight-back, thanks to second-half goals by Jadon Sancho and Axel Witsel, spared the hosts' blushes before Reus equalised deep into added time with a crucial header against Paderborn.
The draw puts Favre under pressure on the back of their 4-0 defeat at Bayern Munich a fortnight ago, but Reus and Hummels insist it is the players who are at fault.
"Everyone has to take a good look at themselves, that's what we have to talk about, not about our coach," fumed Reus.
"The coach always prepares us really well. We are the ones who are responsible" for the poor recent displays.
Former Germany centre-back Hummels echoed Reus' defence.
"It's us on the pitch who make these mistakes. I want to make it very clear that it has nothing to do with the coach's position if we give away the ball without any pressure," insisted Hummels.
Dortmund are off the pace in the title race, five points behind leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach and sixth in the table, leaving few voices in support of Favre ahead of the club's annual general meeting on Sunday.