The St. Louis Cardinals‘ disappointing season may have hit a low point with Wednesday’s stunning loss to the San Francisco Giants.

But the Cardinals’ two biggest stars both emphasized their support for embattled manager Oliver Marmol, who has come under fire amid St. Louis’ latest swoon.

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt, last year’s National League MVP, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his confidence in Marmol is “as high as it’s ever been.”

“It’s pretty simple: we have to play better,” Goldschmidt told the Post-Dispatch. “We haven’t played good enough to win, and that’s why we are losing games. You can’t blame the coaching staff when we don’t perform.

“We are the ones out there playing. We have not performed as good as we need to. We have not played better than the teams we are playing against. It hasn’t been good enough, and they have beaten us. We are the ones out there playing, and we haven’t done a good enough job.”

Nolan Arenado echoed Goldschmidt’s sentiments, telling reporters that Marmol and the coaching staff “work their asses off” and blaming the last-place Cardinals’ struggles solely on the players.

“We just don’t execute,” the 10-time All-Star third baseman said, according to the Post-Dispatch. “That’s just what it comes down to — we don’t execute. I can see why that’s a topic, because it’s easy to blame (Marmol and the staff) — easy to blame them.

“I can’t think of a coaching staff that tries to get us more prepared, all of them. They work their butts off and we just don’t execute. I think it’s the players. You can pinpoint the coaches all you want, but it’s the players. It’s us as a group. We don’t execute.”

Marmol told reporters that he did not plan to hold a team meeting after Wednesday’s loss to the Giants, who tied the game in the ninth inning on Mike Yastrzemski‘s two-run homer before rallying in the 10th for an 8-5 victory to complete a three-game series sweep in St. Louis.

“At some point, you’ve got to do something about it,” Marmol said. “You get punched in the face, punch back.”

The Cardinals have lost five consecutive games and own the worst record in the NL at 27-42. Despite a roster that features Goldschmidt and Arenado, they enter Thursday 8½ games behind the first-place Pirates in the NL Central.

Marmol, 36, led St. Louis to a division title as a first-year manager in 2022 but has drawn criticism for multiple issues this season, including the club’s handling of slumping catcher Willson Contreras and the Cardinals’ struggles to close out games. The collapse Wednesday against the Giants marked the 14th time this season that St. Louis has lost a game after leading by multiple runs.

“Unfortunately we are not holding up our end of the bargain,” veteran pitcher Adam Wainwright, the longest-tenured member of the Cardinals, told the Post-Dispatch. “(Marmol) is pushing us, he’s challenging us. He’s positive when he needs to be, but he’s also telling us this is not acceptable.

“What more can a manager do? This is on the players. This is not on the coaches and the manager.”