The Warriors' hopes of reaching the knockout stages of a competition they came so close to winning back in 2008 are now hanging by a thread after Sale took control of Pool 1 with a second victory and a valuable try-scoring bonus point.
Defeat was Worcester's sixth of the season and Ryan admits he needs to see significant improvement in attitude and application sooner rather than later.
"We have a responsibility to get better. At the moment, we're saying those things and not demonstrating it," Ryan, who is in his first season in charge at the Warriors, told the BBC.
"We've got to work harder. I'm reluctant to be involved with a team that doesn't want to do that. It has to be the precursor for everything. It's a cultural foundation stone to everything I've ever seen in the game.
"If I can't find the individuals that want to do that, I will have to look at other individuals to demonstrate it.
"It's wrong for me to be the catalyst for a response. This club and the playing group are responsible for them responding."
Worcester trailed 24-3 at half time on Saturday after conceding scores to Rob Miller, Dwayne Peel and a penalty try, but they did at least hit back in some sorts after the interval.
Alex Grove and Mike Williams gave the scoreline more of a sense of respectability after Argentine hooker Augustin Creevy made a massive impact on his debut from the bench.
"Let's stop pretending they're the cavalry that are going to sort out all our problems," added Ryan in relation to the signings of Creevy and fellow Pumas Mariano Galarza and Leonardo Senatore.
"Creevy makes a huge difference when he comes on. You see the difference and we get momentum. But it is unacceptable to think that one person is going to generate that.
"He's a powerful man and a great ball carrier and Mariano Galarza is a big man in the line-out. But they're not the cavalry.
"We started poorly against Newcastle. Same thing here. Twenty-four points down is irrelevant - that's an easy place to go and play positively. 0-0 is a difficult place to go and be positive."
Next up for Worcester in the Amlin Challenge Cup is the double header with 2012 tournament winners Biarritz Olympique, with Sixways the venue for the first encounter on Thursday, December 5.