Telford are tasked to respond from an extremely poor FA Cup exit against lower-league Stamford last weekend with a difficult home National League North clash against high-flying Brackley.
Frustration was palpable at the New Bucks Head and on the airwaves and forums last week and Cowan says the players know the result was unacceptable.
The manager admitted his charges have found the club’s broken start to the season difficult, playing the fewest games in the division due to Covid and availability problems – but called for perspective.
Cowan said: “Ultimately I’m responsible as I sign these players and we prepare them.
“But I don’t just sign them for their ability, it’s for their mentality. Of course they have to perform, that’s a non-negotiable. If they don’t, they’ll be criticised.
“You don’t just look at ability, you look at location, mentality, professionalism, how they apply themselves – which is why we re-signed Arlen Birch.
“So I have to be responsible for that and the players need to have the freedom to play, it looks like they’re playing with the weight of the world on their shoulders.
“My and my staff’s job is to try to relinquish that and put them in a place to play with freedom and enjoy their job playing football and put in a performance.”
The Bucks, who have played just four league games, are down in 18th with four points. Northamptonshire visitors Brackley are mixing it at the summit in second with five wins from seven games.
Young left-back Brad Bood could be in contention to return after a bad bout of illness saw him bed-ridden for some of the last fortnight. Brendon Daniels is edging nearer a return, but still a couple of weeks away.