Dean Lewington says he and his MK Dons team-mates face a massive task just to stay in the Championship this season.
The Dons skipper admitted feeling embarrassed to be on the pitch on Tuesday night after his side were thumped 5-0 by Burnley at stadium:mk as they dropped down to 21st in the table.
And with others around them opening their chequebooks this month to strengthen their squads during the transfer window, Lewington knows it isn’t a possibility for Dons, adding to the task at hand.
“It’s a massive task, and it will be difficult,” said the 31-year-old. “At this stage of the season, every point is precious.
“Everyone is working hard, and I know the gaffer is trying to bring players in, but when you see others spending millions, you realise just how hard it is.
“We’re easily outbid on price and wages, and that prevents us attracting the high quality players.”
But while it is Karl Robinson’s job to bring in new faces, it is Lewington’s to lift the spirits of his current team-mates after the thrashing on Tuesday night.
He said: “This might just be a realisation of how hard we have to work to stay in this league.
“You try and get around the players who have had a bit of an ear-bashing from the gaffer, remind them why they’re here and what they’re good at.
“We were nowhere near it. And if we have designs of staying in this league, we have to up our game.
“Towards the end of the game, it was embarrassing to be out on the pitch. We knew we’d have games like this, and there’s normally one a year when you get a bit of a hiding. This is our one, and now we’ll see how we react, who stands up and wants to fight.
“It’s unusual for us, especially at home because we’ve been quite good here. In all honesty, it was far too easy for them and they didn’t have to work. We have to look at why that happened.