Paul Cook acknowledged Wigan Athletic’s 2-1 defeat to Bradford - their first home league setback of the season - had been offing for quite a while.
It took a stoppage-time goal from Bantams substitute Tyrell Robinson to edge a thoroughly entertaining encounter at the DW Stadium.
Chey Dunkley had earlier equalised for Latics, to cancel out Charlie Wyke’s opener.
But Cook was the first to admit Bradford’s win was not only warranted - but he had been fearing it given a number of under-par performances of late.
“I don’t think we’ve been playing particularly well for a period of time,” the Latics boss recognised.
“But when you’re going well, people say you’ve won the league.
“League titles are not won and lost in November, but the reality is people are very quick to judge after a single game - win or lose.
“We’re second in the league, and it’s important to let the dust settle.
“Players aren’t machines, and we will have these disappointments during the season.
“It was a deserved scoreline on the day, Bradford were the better side.
“They deserve all the plaudits, and we’ll take all the criticism that comes our way.
“We were laboured all over the pitch, and we looked a lot of things that I won’t criticise my players for in public.
“We’ll deal with that, we’ll manage it, because that’s what football’s all about.
“The most important thing for us is the way we react, and how we manage disappointment - that’s important in football.”
Latics looked like a side that hadn’t played for three weeks in the league, after the FA Cup first-round clash with Crawley a fortnight ago was followed by the decision to postpone last weekend’s trip to Rochdale because of international commitments.
It’s the second time this term Latics have called a game off due to call-ups - and the second time they’ve been defeated on their return to league action.
“I’ve got no regrets about nothing,” Cook insisted.
“My team is my team, and I stand by my players.
“Today, we’ve had our first defeat at home in the league.
“I think we could all do with a little bit of perspective.
“For us, we’ve had no disappointment so far.
“If we were to get beaten at home by Doncaster on Tuesday night, we’d still be second in the table.
“Our disappointment is huge, because confidence is key to the way we want to play.
“We haven’t been playing well for a while.
“The players know that, and I know that.
“What we need to do is keep working on what we’re trying to do.”