COLLINGWOOD has not lost the will to win but its failure to execute the plans in place is costing it games according to Magpies coach Nathan Buckley.
Buckley has refused to concede the season but admitted with just one win after five rounds the Magpies had some work to do to catch the competition.
The Magpies’ performance on Anzac Day followed a familiar pattern as they recorded 23 more inside 50s than Essendon (66-43) and had two more scoring shots yet kicked inaccurately to lose by 18 points.
Collingwood kicked 2.8 from set shots and could not defend adequately when the opposition won the ball in open space, conceding two goals from kick-ins early in the final quarter to lose touch on the Bombers.
"We're not far off but we're a mile off," Buckley said.
"If we just take advantage of 10 per cent more of our entries and defend a couple of per cent better, then we win those games by two or three goals, but it is a significant difference…it is a significant margin."
Buckley admitted frustration was setting in after just one win in the opening five rounds, but with a match against the unbeaten Geelong just five days away there was no time to dwell on things.
"I can still see that will to win in our players," he said.
The coach acknowledged that plans were not being adhered to in the manner expected but said the team could fix them. He said the coaches and players were constantly in dialogue to make sure the message was getting through.
"Our planning has been solid. We have actually been beaten by what we have known. [We went] too fast against St Kilda…we didn't protect the corridor enough against an Essendon side that loved to go back through there," Buckley said.
Buckley said Alex Fasolo was doing the work required to turn around his poor return from set shots, which sees him having kicked 4.10 so far in 2017, with the Magpies once again wasting chances in front of goal.
WATCH: Nathan Buckley's full post-match press conference
"He is putting the work in during the week…it will turn for him if he stays with it," Buckley said.
The coach also said Scott Pendlebury would bounce back after two relatively quiet weeks by the skipper’s standards and he was not injured.
"We rely on our leaders to stand up. 'Pendles' will be dirty on his performance and he will be dirty about where we are at, and we will find out how dirty in five days time against the Cats."