Disappointed Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley believes there is still time for his side to salvage something from its spluttering season.
The Magpies tumbled to a fourth defeat from their last five appearances when they registered a 32-point loss to the Tigers at the MCG on Friday night, and now find themselves outside the top four with a little over a month before the start of the finals.
But Buckley put on a brave face after the loss and believes the Pies are more than capable of turning their form around and mixing it with the best in September.
"We have got some work to do, but I am still pretty bullish about what our players can do and what we are capable of, " Buckley said.
"We set ourselves some focuses for the last five weeks of the year and we didn’t hit them tonight.
“But we have got another four weeks and we need to get them right, and if we do we will give ourselves a chance of performing."
Buckley refused to use injuries as an excuse for his side's poor recent run, although the list of players currently unavailable is long and continues to mount following the loss to Richmond.
Important midfielder Taylor Adams was a late withdrawal from the Magpies side after pulling up with a sore hamstring following training during the week, while key defender Jordan Roughead sat out the entire second half on Friday night after a stray football to the head caused him to be concussed.
Buckley predicted he won't make wholesale changes for the Magpies’ clash against Gold Coast next round and urged his current crop of players to continue to stick to their game plan and believe in themselves.
"We have got to keep believing in the way we think the game should be played," he said.
"There is enough evidence over the last year and a half when we do what we do well, and it stacks up.
"We are just a little bit off at the moment.
"We lost the game quite convincingly, but I am not disheartened from what I saw in many ways and there is a lot of improvement in us.
"We have got a month to find out if we are going to give ourselves a chance when we get to the other side of the home and away."