CARLTON coach David Teague concedes his side is guilty of handing opposition teams "a window" to beat the Blues, but says a statement at the selection table is not the answer in turning around a disappointing start to the year.
The club fell to 2-4 on the season last Saturday following a frustrating loss to Brisbane, with a second-quarter slump proving fatal as the Lions piled on seven goals in just under 30 minutes to build the foundations for their victory.
It followed a familiar pattern for Carlton under Teague, with in-game fadeouts and opposition momentum swings too often proving the side's downfall over the last 18 months.
The club now faces a must-win clash against old rivals Essendon at the MCG on Sunday in order to keep its dwindling finals chances alive, with Teague saying the focus this week has been on retaining competitiveness throughout entire matches.
"Teams now know that and they're preparing for it … a couple of opposition players have even said that Carlton is a good team but you're going to get a window," the Blues coach said on Thursday.
"It's something we've addressed in the past. We reviewed that again (this week), because it was history coming back a little bit.
"We had a look at the why and what happened in that period when they (the Lions) scored. We'll tweak some little things. I thought defensively, we were off. We allowed them to get free players ahead of the ball.
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"I thought we moved the ball a lot better on the weekend than we had the previous couple of weeks, but we have got to get our defence better if we want to win big games of footy."
Carlton is hopeful of regaining Jack Silvagni from a shoulder injury for this week's clash with Essendon, but the club is unlikely to make wholesale changes at the selection table despite the struggles of veteran forwards Eddie Betts and Levi Casboult in recent weeks.
Young trio Will Setterfield, Paddy Dow and Lochie O'Brien performed strongly in the side's VFL victory over Brisbane last Saturday, but the Blues say they won't make dramatic changes for the sake of it.
"I'm not a big believer in the whole 'make a statement' thing," Teague said.
"I think our fans want us to pick the team that we think is going to win this weekend and take us forward. Right now, we're on a pathway and we're really comfortable with where we're at.
"Would we love to be ahead of where we're at in terms of win-loss? Yeah. But in terms of the overall picture and the lessons and learnings we're creating at the moment, in the bigger picture it will really help us.
"The frustration is you live in the now and you want results right now. We're going to keep making decisions that are in the best interests of this football club over the journey. If that's dropping an experienced player to give us the best chance to take this group to where we want to take it, we'll do that.
"We've given a lot of games to young guys in the past and sometimes you lose that winning culture. It's a balancing act between the two. Ideally, we'd have young guys coming through all the time and forcing their way into the side. That's what a good club does, they have competition for spots."