Interim manager Dave Bowman says the players at Dundee United were responsible for Jackie McNamara losing his job at the weekend.
Bowman, who is assistant youth coach, will take charge of the team for Saturday's match away to bottom-placed Premiership side Partick Thistle.
"Ultimately, it's the players who cost the manager his job." he said.
"That's the bottom line. If the players are not performing, the manager pays the price for it."
Bowman insists that the squad was fully behind McNamara and the rest of the coaching staff despite their side sitting second bottom of the table.
"He never lost the dressing room at all," Bowman told BBC Scotland.
"I've seen it before that managers have lost the dressing room, but he definitely never. The were upset what happened.
"You are always surprised when it happens. It always comes as a shock to you that they have lost their job."
Bowman, who has a spell as caretaker at Livingston in 2007, also intimated that it will be a few days before he decides if he would be interested in the manager's position on a permanent basis.
"You never say never," said the former Hearts, Coventry City, Dundee United, Raith Rovers, Orient & Yee Hope Union and Forfar Athletic midfielder.
"I'm enjoying this week and the boys have been great, but I will just wait and see what happens.
"I understand the club are looking for someone with a lot more managerial experience."
McGowan says players take responsibility
Defender Ryan McGowan was signed by McNamara earlier this year and says this week has been a tough one for all at United.
"It's been a little bit difficult obviously with everything that's gone on at the weekend and at the start of the week," he said.
"It's never nice to see, but as football players we have a big job with a game of football on Saturday to win."
The Australia international says the entire squad have sympathy with McNamara.
"We are the ones that are responsible for results and performances," he added.
"Once we cross that white line, it's really up to what we do and the things that we can influence.
"He can prepare us or do as much as he can Monday to Friday, but really it's us that are the one that can influence performances."