For frustrated fans, “results are important, but secondary. It’s more about the effort, and they’re right,” says Samuel Piette.

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CF Montréal fans have had enough — and captain Samuel Piette understands why.

Montreal is struggling, winless in its last eight games. In the last week, the club lost 5-1 in a derby match at Toronto FC before falling 2-1 to lower-tier Forge FC of the Canadian Premier League to drop out of the Canadian Championship quarterfinals.

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The supporters’ sections performed a silent protest during the first half against Forge. By the end of the match, they were booing and exchanging words with Piette — with one set of fans holding a white tarp with “INACCEPTABLE” written across it.

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“They expressed their displeasure about the desire, the commitment,” Piette said Friday, calling the interaction a good discussion. “For them, results are important, but secondary. It’s more about the effort, and they’re right.”

Montreal (3-7-3) will try to get back on track Saturday when it hosts Nashville SC (3-4-6) at Saputo Stadium (7:30 p.m., Apple TV, CJAD 800, BPM Sports 91.9).

Piette said he tried to remind the fans that as difficult as it is for them, the players are taking it just as hard.

“We’re not proud of ourselves … we want to try to turn things around,” he said. “It’s difficult because our confidence is not at its highest.

“We feel like we’re walking on eggshells because our confidence is so fragile right now.”

Montreal last won a match at its home opener on April 25 and has been outscored 20-9 in all competitions since.

Injuries have taken a toll on a club with the second-lowest payroll in MLS. Eight players are out, including top forwards Matias Coccaro and Josef Martinez.

Piette wouldn’t use that as an excuse and said some players aren’t giving enough effort.

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The 29-year-old said the team is giving opponents too much space and offering up easy chances that Montreal hasn’t in turn been able to generate for itself. He’s also sensed that his squad lets itself down after conceding a first goal, allowing opponents to quickly get a second and third.

“I don’t think it’s all 11 players,” Piette said. “There are some who have love for this club, who sweat for the shirt no matter how we play performance-wise. There are some right now honestly who are performing less well, there are players who are less consistent.

“There’s a lack of intensity, in pressing, in challenges, in aggressiveness towards the ball carrier,” he added. “We’re missing a bit of putting on our work boots, our helmets, doing the dirty work. Lately that’s what’s missing, and we need to get that back.”

Amid the run of bad form, the club is also in turmoil off the pitch.

Montreal parted ways with sporting officer Olivier Renard on May 9, less than two weeks after news surfaced that team MVP Mathieu Choinière reportedly requested a trade amid a contract dispute, raising questions about the club’s chain of command. Renard said last week the two sides were no longer on the same page.

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Piette said he feels especially bad for first-year head coach Laurent Courtois amid the difficult time at the club.

The top coaching job in Montreal has been a revolving door with Courtois becoming the 10th head coach appointed since the team entered MLS in 2012.

After a strong start to the season, the 45-year-old from France is suddenly managing a sinking ship that’s conceded the second-most goals in MLS, but he’s trying to stay positive.

“The experience I have here coaching this group, in this club, for the people who support us, is a privilege every day even if the last few weeks have been complicated, I’m living a dream,” Courtois said. “But it hurts, it hurts for the supporters.”

Courtois has repeatedly taken the blame for Montreal’s shortcomings.

“It’s my job to find a way to make these lows less low,” he said. “But I’m also sure of what these guys are capable of doing well.

“I’m sure there will be a reaction and in the coming weeks we will be able to rebuild on positive things.”

Meanwhile, Nashville (3-4-6) has lost three straight on the road and fired head coach Gary Smith last week, albeit after a 2-0 home victory over Toronto. Nashville also contributed to Montreal’s misery with a 4-1 win on May 4.

On Saturday night, Montreal hopes to have the fans behind the team as it seeks revenge.

“We need them, but at the same time we understand that we’ve disappointed them a lot,” Piette said. “It’s up to us to earn their trust.”

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