Micky Mellon refused to blame Tranmere’s enforced winter break for their sluggish display against Dagenham.
Rovers limped to a 2-0 defeat to one of their promotion rivals in what was their first league match for a month.
A win would have left them just two points behind leaders Lincoln, but they rarely troubled the visitors in a disappointing display.
And Mellon accepts his players were nowhere near the top of their game.
“It’s been a disappointing day for us,” he said.
“We feel we were probably about 10% off all over the pitch.
“When we got into the crossing areas, the quality wasn’t good enough, and when we did get it in, was the movement good enough?
“We’re not making excuses. We weren’t good enough to carve Dagenham open.
“The players will never let us down for effort. But that 10% was missing from everybody today, and it’s affected us.
“There is that [lack of sharpness from playing week in, week out], but that’s not what people want to hear.
“We know the circumstances and the facts that we haven’t had a game for while.
“But we’ll take it on the chin, and the flack that comes our way. That’s what football’s all about.
“We’re hurting at the minute, but we’ll quickly bounce back.”
Mellon reckons the manner in which Dagenham opened the scoring was a clear sucker-punch to his side.
Corey Whiteley appeared to be aiming for the six yard box when his looping ball lobbed Scott Davies and dropped in at the far post.
It came after Tranmere had made a strong start, and the manager admits Rovers struggled to pick themselves up from such a slice of misfortune.
“I don’t believe the first goal was a fair reflection at that time on the game,” he continued.
“Although we didn’t create a lot of clear cut chances, we were the dominating possession wise.
“To lose a goal like that was a blow. We weren’t getting opened up or under any kind of pressure.
“It’s always going to affect you with the manner it went in because you think ‘that’s a cross’.
“We’ve got to dust ourselves down, come back in on Monday and we will get going again.”
Meanwhile Mellon refused to be drawn on whether the defeat will lead to him dipping into the transfer market.
Teams in the National League are not bound by a window, like those higher up.
But Mellon added “It’s a different conversation. We’ll just talk about today’s game.”