Mark Yates admitted Cheltenham Town were second best all over the pitch in their 3-0 defeat at Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.
Goals from Reuben Reid, Peter Hartley and Lewis Alessandra extended Argyle’s unbeaten run to five matches and left Cheltenham in 10th place after 15 games.
“It was a frustrating day and Plymouth looked a good side, capable of heading it and kicking it as League Two requires, but also capable of playing,” Yates said.
“We didn’t win any department and Reuben Reid caused us a few problems in the first half with the long ball, Bobby Reid in the middle got around us, picked up pieces from the mess Reuben had caused and my back three didn’t work hard enough.
“I still felt we could get back into it, but we weren’t as good as them and our game management was wrong.”
At 2-0 down, Cheltenham created their two best chances of the game, with Lee Vaughan and Byron Harrison both close to pulling one back.
“We could have scored and made a game of it, but we shot ourselves in the foot again for their third and then it was game over,” Yates said.
“We didn’t work their goalkeeper anywhere near enough, but Plymouth are probably the best side we’ve played this season and I really like their manager John Sheridan.
“They were better than us in every department and we have to admit that. We are a work in progress and this is a setback, showing us there is still plenty of work to do.”
Yates made two changes to the team that defeated Cambridge 2-1 last Tuesday, with Byron Harrison returning in place of the suspended John Marquis, while Omari Sterling-James came in for Joe Hanks, who dropped to the bench.
“I was slightly worried about Joe, who was carrying a knock, so I went with Omari thinking he would be more pro-active for us,” Yates said.
“He wasn’t at fault for us being beaten, but as a team we weren’t as good as we wanted to be and we have to be in every game.
“Our decision making with the ball was poor and we played into their hands pretty much.
“We played three up front in the second half and used a back four and it was working, but we then conceded the third and it petered out.”
Yates has now called for a much-improved display at home against York City on Saturday.
“We have to try to keep picking up points and 99 per cent of the time this season our effort has been superb,” Yates said.
“We have to make sure we are as fit, mobile and proactive as we can against York in front of our own fans, who have back us so well this season.”
Read the match report here.