Shaun Wane conceded Wigan were second-best as Castleford condemned them to a fourth game without victory.
Morgan Escare scored all the Warriors’ points, with a try in each half and a conversion, as they tumbled 27-10 to the Super League leaders.
It was the fewest points Wigan had managed to score this season and while Tigers coach Daryl Powell hailed their defensive display as one of their best, Wane was less than satisfied with what they threw at the Yorkshire outfit.
“The effort was there, we were just a bit dumb,” said Warriors coach Shaun Wane, who admits Castleford have become genuine contenders for their title.
“Our one-on-one defence was poor and the way we ended our sets was not good enough.
“They’re a good team and you need to make sure you finish your sets. The only time they’ve made a lot of tackles and people have finished their sets against them was against Salford and they got turned over. That was the aim today but we weren’t good enough.”
Wane is hoping to welcome back Anthony Gelling and captain Sean O’Loughlin to his depleted squad before next Friday’s derby clash with St Helens.
“The players are hurting, it was a tough game to lose, but we look forward to next week,” said Wane, who said hooker Sam Powell took a whack to his ribs but should be clear to play.
Castleford coach Powell said: “I thought our defence was awesome. The pleasing thing is teams can rattle us, but we still held our composure. It was one of our best defensive performances since I’ve been at the club.
“It was a blow losing Michael Shenton in the warm-up, but Wigan have a few missing so I’m not going to moan about that too much. Wigan put us under a lot of pressure, they had a lot missing but the young lads coming through did a job for them.”
• Leeds coach Brian McDermott confirmed yesterday they would not be appealing Brett Ferres’ six-game ban.
The forward had said he was considering asking for a reduced sentence for his ‘crusher tackle’ on Oliver Gildart.
The Wigan centre has been sidelined for around three months.
“The toughest week of our lives but our family will get Oliver right both physically and mentally,” his dad Ian tweeted last night. Gildart was at the DW Stadium last night.
Wane didn’t voice any complaints with the six-game ban. “The RFL have a tough job... I just want to move on from it now,” he said.