Mark Yates was frustrated by his side’s shortcomings after their 2-1 defeat to Northampton on Tuesday evening but the Crawley boss also reserved praise for the League Two champions.
Crawley were dominated throughout by a Cobblers team that always looked in control, although the home side had to be patient before they turned pressure into goals.
Ricky Holmes and John-Joe O’Toole were both on target in the second-half and while Gwion Edwards pulled one back with a late free-kick, Northampton were comfortable and deserved winners.
Yates was visibly exasperated by some of his side’s sloppy play after full-time but he acknowledged that they had been outplayed by a very slick outfit.
He said: “They’re the best team in the league by a country mile and they showed it tonight.
“They’ve got real good players and the way they play and move the ball was great to see but we stood up to it until we switched off.
“First half Jack (Rose) had a couple of saves but we looked solid and we talked about being better in possession.
“We had a great chance when Edwards went through and their keeper made a good save but we’re not there to tap in the rebound and they make something into a good ball, get a cross in and we lose discipline again.
“I’ve seen the penalty again – it looks a bit harsh but it’s one of those where you want it if it’s yours.
“We didn’t need to do that and we don’t need to be making stupid decisions like that which gives the referee an easy option.
“We switched off from the set-piece and the talk at half-time was about making sure we stay in the game because we did enough in the first half to warrant being at 0-0.
“Maybe if we could have kept it 0-0 with 15 minutes to go we could have got a set-piece or a break and enjoy a bit of possession and you never know.
“But we did what we have done best this season and that’s just show a lack of concentration at important times.
“I’m sick of talking about people switching off. If it’s not A, it’s B and if it’s not B, it’s C.
“We’ve lost five games on the spin and that’s not a record I’m proud of and not a record any of those players should be proud of.”