Disappointed Charlton boss Lee Bowyer criticised the lacklustre display of his players during his side’s 3-1 defeat at Stoke.
The Addicks went in level at the break but were undone by two second-half goals as Stoke made it six home games unbeaten.
Goals from James McClean, Tom Ince and Nick Powell took the Potters above their opponents, who are just one place and four points above the Championship relegation zone.
Bowyer said: “It was not good enough from start to finish. They were better than us.
“Too many players weren’t at it today. Too many were nowhere near playing as well as they can play.
“We have a squad that have to be at their best to compete in this division and they weren’t today and that is why we lost.
“Stoke should not be where they are in the league, they have got some proper players in their side and they showed that today.
“You have to be at your best, you have to do the basics right and we did not do that today.
“We had a lot of players out there today who have just returned from injury. They were not at their peak and that is part of the reason why we struggled.
“We go again on Tuesday and it is important that we learn from this defeat. We have a fight ahead and need to be at our best.”
Stoke took the lead in the 28th minute when McClean tapped home at the back post following a Sam Clucas corner.
Charlton drew level in first-half stoppage time through Ben Purrington but two minutes after the interval Ince restored the hosts’ lead.
Nick Powell made it 3-1 in the 66th minute and the Potters comfortably saw the game out.
Stoke boss Michael O’Neill praised his players for their reaction to being pegged back before the break.
He said: “I am delighted with the performance. We played very well in the first half and deserved to be in front.
“We had total control of the game so to concede was disappointing, but the reaction was superb.
“Overall the team played in the way I would like to see my team play. We had control for large periods of that game and looked assured at the back – there is a lot to be positive about.
“We need to look at game management regarding their goal, we could have defended better and we are always striving for perfection.
“The important thing is we went out and continued how we had started the game. It was important that we got the reaction we did.
“We are creating chances and the wide players scored which is a bonus.
“We were worthy winners. It is nice to put distance between ourselves and the bottom three.”
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