Brad Arthur concedes he couldn't blame anyone wanting to question Parramatta's premiership credentials after the flimsiest defensive performance of the NRL season.
The Eels were on Friday left counting the costs of their 38-0 flogging from South Sydney, with five-eighth Dylan Brown awaiting the results of scans on an injured ankle.
But on the field the Eels also have their issues.
They missed a whopping 53 tackles in their worst ever loss at Bankwest Stadium, the most any side has missed in a match this season.
Blake Ferguson and Waqa Blake missed nine between them on the right wing as the Rabbitohs had a field day out wide, while Nathan Brown and Ray Sone also had six misses each in the middle.
First on the NRL's ladder seven weeks ago, Parramatta now find themselves in a race to stay in the top four in the final month of the regular season.
And when asked if he thought critics would silly to write off the Eels based on their current form, Arthur conceded it would be understandable.
"That's up to the individual who wants to have that opinion, that's fine," Arthur said.
"We deserve it after tonight.
"But things change pretty quickly in a week but we're the only ones that can do something about it."
Frustrating Arthur most will be the fact this was the kind of performance he thought was gone from the Eels.
Known for their big margins in games last season with seven losses of 12 points or more, their 2020 defeats before Thursday night had been by 14, four and two points.
"We were a chance of winning those games," Arthur said.
"But we were never a chance of winning that game tonight after 20 minutes.
"The boys said it was pretty quiet out there tonight which was not good."
Meanwhile, Arthur ruled out syndesmosis as Brown's injury, after he initially played on with an injured ankle in the first half.
But medical staff eventually made the call to pull him in the second, knowing little else could be achieved ahead of next week's clash with the Warriors.
"I think they said it's at the back of his ankle, I don't know but it wasn't a syndesmosis," Arthur said.
"He soldiered on, we gave him the option if he was all right to stay there.
"As it got worse in the second half there was no point in keeping him there."
Australian Associated Press