Confidence plays a major part. Losing games damages confidence, so players hide or, at best, take the safe option which usually involves passing sideways or backwards. This, of course, means the forwards are starved of ball, we don't score, inevitably concede and lose games which means even less confidence for the next game. We've all heard the saying that losing becomes a habit.
Rooney started to rebuild confidence by making us hard to beat, assisted in no small part by the return of Bielik. We started winning games, confidence grew and all was rosy in the garden until Bielik got injured