Ian Evatt admitted his side had been their own worst enemies in a 3-0 defeat at Plymouth Argyle.
After watching his side fall 2-0 behind inside the first 15 minutes, the Bolton boss said his players gave themselves far too much to do against Ryan Lowe’s league leaders to claim a result.
Wanderers improved after the break but struggled to master wet and windy conditions, which deteriorated to comical proportions towards the final whistle.
“It was naïve, it was soft, we didn’t start the game well enough,” was Evatt’s assessment.
“We were still trying to play out in conditions that were not conducive to it, then two poor set plays and we have an uphill struggle.
“On the back of a hiding the last thing you want to do is concede early on.
“We got to half time, had the conditions in our favour in the second half and you would have to argue we had better moments than they did but we just didn’t take them.
“Even that comical goal at the end – we’re still trying to play short.
“It is tough and it has been a difficult week as a group. It was never all going to be sweetness and light, there were always going to be difficult spells like this, it is how we come together and fight.”
Wanderers had 12 shots on goal, four on target, but failed to force Michael Cooper into a serious save over 90 minutes despite getting themselves into some good positions.
Evatt admitted the lack of goals is becoming a pressing concern.
“Scoring goals, obviously,” he said. “It is about playing what the game gives you, playing the conditions, and that might not be the weather, it might be the opposition.
“I think we have a really nasty habit of getting behind in games and shooting ourselves in the foot and once we do, because we have not been scoring in games like we should, we lack a bit of belief.
“All we can do is keep our heads down and keep working hard.”
Evatt made three changes, dropping Antoni Sarcevic and Eoin Doyle to the bench and playing Amadou Bakayoko as the front man.
“Other people have been looking for an opportunity,” the manager said.
“The game plan was to look at our three against their back three and try to isolate them in one v one situations and we felt in the conditions, with his presence and mobility, that Baka would be a better nine for us.
“We just felt it was the right way to go.”
Despite a difficult week, Evatt is convinced there is no need for serious alarm as his side prepare to welcome Gillingham to the UniBol this weekend.
“We have lost three straight games without scoring a goal and the last two heavily – although I’d argue tonight didn’t really feel like a heavy defeat, the scoreline is harsh,” he said.
“But it is a week of football. All of a sudden it feels like we are on a really bad run and a really bad team and it is not actually that bad.
“A week ago when we beat Shrewsbury you were all saying what a really good team we were.
“A couple of bad performances, difficult fixtures away from home against the top teams, Wigan at home – another top team, and we just need to ride the storm and stick together as a squad and staff.”