TOM Newey said Oxford United could have no complaints over their 2-1 defeat after losing control of the game against Burton Albion.
The decisive spell came in the first half at the Kassam Stadium, when the Brewers struck through Dominic Knowles and Zeli Ismail.
United were in disarray at the back and also conceded a penalty, which Ryan Clarke saved.
Although they fought back into the game after the break, it was not enough to take anything from the game.
And Newey, who returned to the side after a two-game suspension, admitted ultimately they could not expect to get away with such a ragged spell.
He said: “It felt like we had lost total control of the game, but we knew when we got in and regrouped for the second half if we got that first goal it would put us in the ascendancy and the fans really got behind us.
“We pushed on and we were unlucky not to come away with something.
“But let’s not kid ourselves, we were very sloppy in the first half and inevitably it’s cost us.
“In the second half, they defended for 45 minutes and we were in the ascendancy and had quite a few chances.
“Beano (James Constable) hit the post and it popped up in the keeper’s hands, things just didn’t fall for us, but we can’t give a team like Burton a two-goal head start.
“You give yourself a big task.”
The result extended a poor run which has seen United win just one of their last seven games.
They remain in the Sky Bet League Two play-off places, but Newey knows with fixtures running out there is no time to waste ahead of tomorrow’s game against Cheltenham Town.
He said: “We are all hurting because we’ve just lost a game of football, but there’s no time for sulking now.
“It’s still in our hands, there are 11 games to go and if we win a big portion of those games we will be there or thereabouts.
“It’s important we start picking up points as soon as possible and it’s great we have a game on Tuesday.”