Waterford manager Paraic Fanning admits that his side face "a lot of soul-searching" after bowing out of the running for Munster championship with defeat to Limerick.
The 2-24 to 0-10 reverse was their third loss of the summer and, after getting to the Allianz League decider just two months ago, left the manager in somewhat of quandary.
"It’s a hard one to figure," he told RTÉ Sport.
"We prepared really well throughout the year and ended up in a League final, it’s hard to pinpoint. We’ll have to have a serious look ourselves. It’s a bit raw at the moment.
"There’s a game against Cork [next Saturday] and we’ve got to regroup, a lot of soul-searching to be done from everybody."
For the second game in a row the Déise were reduced to 14 men when Pauric Mahony saw red with just over 10 minutes to play but Fanning was adamant that discipline was not a major issue for the squad.
"Pauric pulled on a ball and I just thought he was fouled two or three times," he said.
"That was the frustration from his point of view."
The All-Ireland champions, meanwhile, felt that the performance should end talk of a lack of hunger that did the rounds following their opening-game loss to Cork.
"There’s probably a bit of a narrative out there that these guys have lost their appetite, lost their will to win, that they are satisfied with what they’ve had over the last 12 months," said manager John Kiely.
"I can assure you that is far from the case. We are in this to perform at the highest level and to be as competitive as we can every day we go out.
"Obviously, we had a lull in our form the last day but they’ve responded really well.
"We are not back up to where we want to be but we’re on an upward curve."
Clare provide the opposition next Sunday and Kiely added that the onus is on Limerick to build on the win at Walsh Park.
He said: "Clare have beaten us three times in the last three years in championship and we’re playing at home so there is a responsibility to get a really good shift out of ourselves next week."
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