Paul Cook admitted the ‘absolutely criminal’ goals Wigan Athletic conceded in the 3-0 defeat at Blackburn left him - and the club’s fans - in ‘deep pain’.
Latics slipped to a deserved defeat at Ewood Park with barely a whimper, to remain in the relegation mire ahead of Saturday’s massive six-pointer against Bolton Wanderers at the DW.
A Nick Powell header, from substitute Callum McManaman’s cross, that flicked the outside of the post at the beginning of the second half was the closest they came to laying a glove on a Rovers side without a win or a clean sheet since January.
And two goals from Danny Graham - the first a penalty, the second a simple route one effort - and Bradley Dack, who benefited from a comical mix-up between Jonas Olsson and Jamie Jones with four minutes to go, gave Rovers the win at a canter.
“Where do you start and finish with that?” Cook mused. “I’m certainly not going to criticise my players, that’s not my style as a manager.
“But I think it’s fair to say it’s probably the most disappointing night we’ve had.
“The disappointment and the pain must set in, and the reality is we are in a really deep struggle at the minute.
“Tonight’s certainly not a night for putting rallying cries out, I’m not a manager like that.
“I think the best way to respond to pain is make sure you take it in, and make sure you see a reaction.”
While Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Reading contained a few positives, there were only negatives associated with this one.
“We lost Nathan Byrne this afternoon through illness, but I’m not getting involved in all that,” Cook continued.
“Fans don’t want to hear that, they don’t want to hear the excuses, saying a load of nonsense, and all that stuff.
“But I am just as disappointed as them.
“Sometimes I think it’s better for managers to not just tell supporters what they want to hear...I’m a supporter myself.
“If you don’t feel deep pain tonight, there’s something deeply wrong.
“Whatever I say tonight won’t make it right.
“Hopefully by 5pm on Saturday night, we’ll have been able to make it right.”
Cook didn’t even contest the 39th-minute penalty that opened the scoring, with Reece James unwittingly - but correctly - being adjudged to have felled Harrison Reed as he tried to hook the ball away.
“We’ve had too many of them...but I don’t think that’s the biggest debate tonight,” he added.
“We had chances ourselves after that we couldn’t take, and the goals we conceded after that were absolutely criminal.”