Newcastle Jets coach Phil Stubbins acknowledged his side were outplayed by Melbourne City as their winless road streak in the A-League extended to 13 matches.
Jets - without an away win since March last year - fell behind after 18 minutes when their ex-captain Kew Jaliens, sacked in January this month, opened the scoring.
Further goals to Harry Novillo, David Williams and Iain Ramsay followed as City recorded a convincing 4-0 triumph at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Rock-bottom Newcastle are winless since December and after their latest defeat, Stubbins told reporters: "From start to finish, we weren't at the races. You can't hide behind a performance like that. We were clearly outplayed by a better team on the day.
"[It was] a performance that wasn't worthy of our own expectations. It wasn't good enough.
"It's a small group of players that we have got and although Melbourne City have got a turnaround of three games in a week, it was pretty clear that our boys were second best."
Stubbins said the club had no ill feeling towards Jaliens, despite his surprise departure, but bemoaned his side's marking for the defender's goal, as he volleyed in a corner from seven yards.
"Kew's been a player at a good level for a long period of time. Things have moved on and he's here now," he added.
"He's at a club with a fair array of talent amongst their stocks. There's no animosity towards Kew at all.
"We conceded from the set-piece [for Jaliens' goal], which was unfortunate, but it was poor marking. There's not much to say [for the performance] after that."
Stubbins - who said Newcastle fans needed to recognise they were without "the real quality and depth that's needed" - was insistent that his side would give their all for the remainder of the campaign.
"We have got six games to go," he continued.
"There's a lot of things on the players' minds - is it contracts, is it fatigue? There's a lot of things to take into account. We've got an eye to the future … we had a bad day at the office today but we'll re-group and we'll go again."comments