Cliftonville chief Tommy Breslin is urging his team to shrug off the pressure that comes with being champions.
The Reds make the journey across Belfast on Saturday to face a fast-improving Glentoran side at the Oval.
Although the Premiership title holders are only four points adrift of Linfield at the top of the table, Breslin admits his team have yet to find top gear.
“It’s been disappointing and frustrating,” he said.
“We have been working hard, but it’s just not happening for us at the minute. Hopefully, it will change soon.
“I suppose there are a lot of sides in the same boat because we are only four points behind, having already lost four games.
“I’m not into making excuses, but we have been badly affected with injuries this season. We lost key players in key areas – thankfully we are now beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel.
“Yes, I suppose there is added pressure on the boys, going into every game as champions – everyone is out to take you scalp. But that’s something we must learn to come to terms with.”
Glentoran, only one point behind the Reds, approach the game having won their last three league games.
Manager Eddie Patterson was thrilled with his team’s victory (3-1) at Coleraine last Saturday.
“This is a young group of players and they are learning all the time,” he said. “But they are starting to play without fear -- they were superb at the Showgrounds.
“It’s now important to keep that going. Even though we are sixth in the table, we are right on the tails of the teams above us. It shows what can happen if you string together a few good results.”