Worcestershire First Team Coach Alex Gidman gave his reaction after the Specsavers County Championship encounter with Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.
Worcestershire went down by 13 runs at the end of a see-saw contest.
They will now look to impress in the Vitality Blast after a setback which was a blow to hopes of a quickfire return to Division One.
Alex Gidman said: “Firstly, promotion is going to be hard but, in any sport, when you play over a long period of time, the league doesn’t lie.
“We are not playing well enough and haven’t played well enough over sustained periods of time.
“It’s been the same message for the last few weeks. We are not performing our skill for long enough and the need for that isn’t going to change until the format of the game dramatically changes which isn’t going to happen!
“We won two games last year and two this year so far. Making improvements and being a more consistent team doesn’t happen overnight.”
Gidman added: “We are making some cricketing decisions that we hope will benefit this club now and also in the next two or three years.
“It seems there has been a lot of expectation on a very small group of players to produce day in and day out which is unrealistic but also means other guys aren’t developing.
“We need to develop as a group, not just as one or two players. The whole team needs to be performing and that’s where we’ve been inconsistent.
“If you look back at the victories in red ball cricket, it’s generally been the same guys performing in those games.
“What we are trying to do is get better as a team and get individuals performing more consistently and better in order to give us a chance of being a more consistent team.
“It doesn’t happen overnight? No. What I will say is they are hurting after that (defeat at Cheltenham) and desperately trying.
“Eighty per cent of our cricket has been good and competitive and then we are having poor sessions where we are letting a lot of hard work slip.
“We’ve got to get better at playing four days of cricket, not two and a half, three.
“The messages are very simple and clear. I know the guys are trying, the spirit is brilliant and we will continue to do a lot of work in improving how that happens.”
The game at Cheltenham was a superb advert for the four-day game.
Gidman said: “It’s been a great game of cricket. Both teams applied themselves on the wicket really well and 100 per cent full credit to Gloucestershire, particularly with the way they bowled today (Wednesday). They just persisted and persisted and gave us nothing.
“We tried to hang in there and take it as deep as possible, but they just kept at us and it got harder to score on the wicket and we didn’t have quite enough batting skill in the end to get us over the line.
“Our last month in red ball cricket, we’ve played a lot of good cricket but sadly we are having hours or sessions which are not just average but really, really poor.
“It takes a long time to get that back. What is toughest about this fixture is we recognised we didn’t bowl particularly well on the second session of the first day and, when you have a session like that, it can take a long time to get back.
“We worked really hard for two days to get that back and to get into a position to win the game and unfortunately we didn’t quite have enough to see us over the line.
“I thought it was a good cricket wicket. If you batted for long periods of time, you could score runs. We all know at Cheltenham you get good value for your shots.
“At the same time if bowlers were accurate over a long period of time, there is a little bit of seam movement and some swing at times depending on the overheads.
“The reality is that 350 in their first innings was 60, 70 runs too many.”