Sean Dyche admitted his Burnley side face a monumental task to reach the play-offs and labelled their performance 'unacceptable' as they crashed to a shock 1-0 defeat against struggling Huddersfield at Turf Moor.
James Vaughan's solitary strike 10 minutes after the interval moved the Terriers six points clear of the npower Championship relegation zone and ensured manager Mark Robins toasted his first win since taking charge.
Huddersfield had not won on their travels in the npower Championship since November and had been breached 19 times in their previous four road trips, yet the hosts encountered a much more resolute outfit.
Dyche's men failed to find the net for the third successive contest with Danny Ings, Charlie Austin, Sam Vokes and Keith Treacy all squandering good chances as the Clarets found their winless run extended to six games.
"I'm disappointed more than frustrated. It's a very poor performance, simple as that. Unacceptable," Dyche said. "I didn't think the effort was lacking but we talk about working hard - we also talk about working smart - and we didn't work smart. We came away from the basic principles of what we've been doing."
When asked if securing one of the four play-off spots was now a bridge too far, with Burnley subsequently slipping into the bottom half of the table, Dyche added: "It's out of our hands now, it's in other people's hands."
Dyche's opposite number Robins thinks he is finally starting to witness the fruits of his labour as the Terriers produced a stout performance in recording their second straight clean sheet.
Robins was appointed on Valentine's Day but suffered a baptism of fire when Nottingham Forest routed them 6-1 at The City Ground in his first game in charge. However, just eight days later, Robins was able to point to a much-improved performance which came on the back of Saturday's goalless draw with Ipswich.
"They were shot after the game last Tuesday night," Robins said. "But we've got a sort of progress - they've dug in, they've got two clean sheets and they've ground out four points and I'm delighted with that at this stage.
"Everything I've asked them to do, they are trying. They've kept disciplined, they kept shape. I don't think they've really created too much against us apart from the unbelievable save at the end which sealed the three points from Alex (Smithies)."