Craig Elliott was left in ‘shock’ at how poorly his Boston United side performed at Gloucester City.
Joe Parker grabbed a brace and Joe Hanks netted from the spot as the Tigers won 3-0 in a game the Pilgrims will want to forget.
“The first half performance kills the game, I didn’t see it coming,” said Elliott.
“I’m in shock in terms of we’ve looked so solid (previously).
“We’ve had a difficult week but that’s just excuses, they’re just excuses. The starting XI should be putting in a better performance.
“We started well and had three-four decent opportunities.”
United were without Jay Rollins, Jordan Thewlis, Shaun Tuton, Jake Wright and Jonathan Wafula, while Simon Ainge and Tom Platt played despite illness.
But Elliott still expected more from his squad.
“At half time I could have taken eight-nine players off, it was that bad. So many things going wrong,” he added.
“It’s difficult to get my head round.
“You get beaten by a better team fair enough, but this was really poor.
“We looked shaky defensively, and as a back four and a keeper they never gave us a platform to go on and win the game.
“In the final third we were wasteful, both boxes quite poor.”
United now go back to the drawing board ahead of Monday’s arrival of Altrincham (KO 3pm).
Elliott continued: “My biggest concern is we’re not scoring goals and I thought it’d come.
“Post, crossbar, maybe things aren’t bouncing for us, but players need to step up.
“We play a better team on Monday, no disrespect to them (Gloucester), we have to do better.”