Carlisle United boss Greg Abbott believes a "fear factor" has affected his players in their opening two games of the season.
United were beaten 3-0 by Notts County on Saturday, and were trailing at Oldham before recovering to win 4-2 on penalties in the Carling Cup.
"There's a little bit of timidness, a fear within the group at the moment," Abbott told BBC Radio Cumbria.
"They really are a good group and they have got to have that belief."
Abbott added: "The second half [of the game at Oldham] was terrific, over the balance we looked really strong."
United's progress to the second round of the League Cup was sealed thanks to two saves from goalkeeper Adam Collin in the shoot-out.
The 26-year-old has been the hero during spot-kicks against Port Vale, Morecambe and Leeds United during the last two seasons, and repeated the feat at Boundary Park.
"When Matty Robson misses his penalty, you think it's not going to be our night,"
"The big fella covers a big part of the goal and he's come up trumps for us again.
"It's terrific, it's important for us to get cup success to go along with the league programme.
"Momentum and confidence are the two things we need to start building up now and that won't do us any harm tonight."