Captain Seamus Coleman has hit back at former Republic of Ireland teammate Keith Andrews and insisted Martin O'Neill remains the right manager for the job.
Working as a TV pundit, Andrews was particularly critical of Ireland under O'Neill, describing the team as "clueless" and calling for a change in the hotseat.
But Everton defender Coleman feels Andrews may have been deliberately provocative, telling offtheball.com: "We are all behind the manager. Sometimes players get away with murder.
"It always seems to be put on the manager, that's something that really bugs me at club level.
"I've seen three or four managers go. It always seems to be them that gets the heat and not the players. We need to stand up and be counted. Some of our performances have not been good enough.
"We're going through a tough time. Keith has been part of teams himself that could have been questioned at times.
"It's very easy from a pundit's position. Keith has got a job to do, Keith has really taken to punditry. He might have been trying to make a name for himself by being a little bit harsh the other night. That's his job, that's his role.
"When he was a player it was his job to get on the ball and make things happen and at times he didn't do that."