Sacking manager Jaap Stam will not help Reading avoid relegation, says midfielder Joey van den Berg.
The Royals are 20th, three points above the Championship drop zone with eight games remaining, having won just one of their past 18 league matches.
"We can't let it get to us, but I have to admit that it's hard," Van den Berg told BBC Radio Berkshire.
"You don't want to look at those below you but you have to now. Hopefully it's a wake-up call, but it's a bit late."
Stam's side conceded two goals from corners and one from the penalty spot in Saturday's 3-2 defeat by Norwich and have taken just eight points from a possible 39 in 2018.
Former Manchester United defender Stam guided Reading to third place in the Championship last season following his appointment in June 2016, but the Royals lost on penalties to Huddersfield in the play-off final and have struggled this season.
They have already lost five more matches this season than in the whole of the 2016-17 campaign, but despite their poor form, van den Berg is backing fellow Dutchman Stam to turn things around.
"It's not always guaranteed that it will help to fire a manager," the 32-year-old said.
"We all believe in the manager and we have to keep believing. I don't think a new manager would help us as much as this one will.
"It's all pretty basic stuff where we're making mistakes. It's not about tactics. It's about stupid goals that we're conceding."
After the international break, Reading face Queens Park Rangers, who are unbeaten in four games, before fixtures against play-off contenders Aston Villa, Preston and Fulham.
"I personally think that if we don't stick together and we don't work hard then we're going to have a really difficult time," van den Berg added.