Neal Ardley says Notts County’s disappointing efforts in both boxes were to blame for their defeat at Grimsby.
The Magpies were beaten 4-0 at Blundell Park despite having the better of the exchanges in the first half.
Two of the hosts’ goals came from corners and Ardley was disappointed with the display at both ends of the pitch.
“Football is won in the boxes and Grimsby had the better of it in both,” he said.
“We were poor in theirs. When we created chances we didn’t take them and we didn’t get on the end of good crosses.
“In ours we were very bad. We lacked the desire to get things right and the necessary communication and we all have to take responsibility for that result.
“The scoreline tells you everything you need to know – that was nowhere near good enough.”
Notts fell behind four minutes into the game but looked to be the better side until Grimsby doubled their lead half an hour later.
And Ardley felt that period of play had suggested the final score was not on the cards.
“If you’d told me at 1-0 that we’d lose by four I’d have laughed,” said the boss. “I couldn’t see that at all.
“The soft underbelly we’ve had throughout the season has reared its head again, though, and we’ve got to work hard to change it.
“We need to show focus, desire and character which are things we did well last week but not today - that’s an inconsistency we have had all year.”
The gaffer says he can’t afford to spend too long dwelling on the loss, though, with another match in four days’ time.
“I’ve got to address this and then move on because the games come quickly over this period,” said Ardley.
“If I harp on about it and knock the boys dead with talk around this result then we won’t be ready for Macclesfield on Boxing Day.
“We’ll be in tomorrow and Monday looking at the issues from today but then we’ll be working hard to make sure we pick a team to win the next game.”