Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has blamed himself and his team after they were thrashed 6-2 by the Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night.
The result marked a third straight loss for the Victory and leaves them in danger of slipping to fourth spot on the ladder after the weekend's action.
Postecoglou cut a deflated figure as he attempted to explain the four-goal loss.
When given an opportunity to praise his younger brigade, specifically Connor Pain who made his first Hyundai A-League start, Postecoglou blasted his whole squad.
"No thoughts on Connor Pain. We were poor everywhere tonight, young and old, everyone was pretty poor, beginning with the head coach and moving downwards," he said.
The 47 year-old said his side looked off their best from the outset.
"We certainly didn't start well, we looked flat when we started and didn't really take the game to them," Postecoglou said.
"Collectively our defending was very, very ordinary tonight. Against a good side you will get punished like that.
"Individually we defended poorly and lost our battles (one-on-one) and lost our battles collectively.
"We have just to go back to training and keep working hard."
Postecoglou was adamant the Victory needed to get good results while adjusting to the tactical system the former Brisbane Roar coach is trying to put in place.
"It's one thing about working on a style of game. Our competitive levels today were nowhere near where they should be," he said.
"It was boys against men and we need to rectify that.
"There was a marked difference, regardless of where we finish, between us and Mariners tonight. We have got to bridge that gap if we want to do well in the finals. I think that's the most important thing."
Postecoglou admitted his side may have struggled mentally with the occasion of playing the top side at their home ground.
"The losses aren't mental. Is it mentally that maybe the Mariners are mentally stronger than us at the moment? Maybe, that could be a possibility, but again that's pretty hard to coach," he said.
"From our perspective all we can do is keep improving the fundamentals of our game and the individuals and our competiveness should be part of everything we do and it wasn't tonight."
The Victory host the Newcastle Jets next Sunday and Postecoglou says his side have no option but to improve.
"There is no respite in this league. If you don't perform to a good level or the level that you need to you are going to get punished," he said.
"On today's performance we are well short of where we want to be."