Shanghai - Gus Poyet apologised and hinted he could quit after Shanghai Shenhua lost 3-0 at home in the Chinese Super League to leave the Uruguayan's future as coach hanging in the balance.
Shenhua finished fourth in the league last year and invested heavily this season, bringing Carlos Tevez to China on a contract which made him one of the world's best paid players.
But the Argentine striker has flopped, missing more than half of Shenhua's CSL games with injury, and he was again absent as they were well beaten in front of their own fans by mid-table Guizhou Zhicheng on Wednesday.
Defeat left Shenhua 11th in the 16-team CSL and Poyet said "I have reached my limit", as furious home fans called for him to be sacked.
"I'd like to say sorry to everyone, I don't know what to say really," Poyet told reporters afterwards, according to the Shanghai-based Oriental Sports Daily.
"As coach I shoulder responsibility for losing this game. I will not hide and I will face everyone.
"I'm proud of having this job but I'm not pleased that I have reached my limit.
"I don't want to keep talking because it will be bad for me to say too much. I hope you won't ask me and show some respect for me."
Defeat was all the more embarrassing for Shenhua because Guizhou are managed by the Spaniard Gregorio Manzano - the man Poyet replaced at Shenhua.
Shenhua have won just one of their last five league and cup games to ramp up the pressure on the 49-year-old Poyet, whose managerial career has included two years in the Premier League with Sunderland in 2013-2015.
But Shenhua's boss insisted Poyet's job is safe.
"Every team loses games," said chairman Wu Xiaohui. "Every year we have one or two situations like this. It's very normal, it's nothing."