Mike Shanahan said Monday he believes the Washington Redskins are headed in the right direction under his leadership despite this season’s struggles, delivering what amounted to a defense of his four-year coaching tenure in the face of mounting criticism following Sunday’s loss that dropped Washington into last place in the NFC East.

Speaking at a news conference at Redskins Park, Shanahan deflected questions about his job security but said the Redskins will have a chance to improve their roster next season after a two-year salary cap penalty expires.

“I think you’ve got to take a look at a number of things when you take a look at the direction of a football team,” Shanahan said. “I think when you take a look at the offensive numbers . . . that just doesn’t happen naturally with a lot of new players. We talked about it last year. We had six new players on our team, and putting up the numbers that we’re putting up are pretty impressive, especially with losing the $36 million salary cap over those two years time frame.”

Shanahan’s comments came a day after the Redskins’ record fell to 3-7 with the 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins have a record of 24-34 under Shanahan, who signed a five-year contract worth about $7 million per season when he was hired by owner Daniel Snyder. The Redskins have failed to build on last season’s NFC East title, forged with a seven-game winning streak to close the regular season, and fans and some media observers increasingly have speculated Shanahan won’t be back for a fifth season.

Shanahan declined to respond directly to a question Monday about whether he thinks the Redskins’ results during the remainder of this season will determine his future with the team or whether he instead has been given assurances by Snyder he will return next season.

“I don’t talk about those things during the season for obvious reasons,” Shanahan said.