Grant McCann has promised a reaction from his Peterborough United players after “schoolboy” defending saw them succumb to a 3-1 defeat to Bradford City.
Posh were 3-0 down at half-time, with Dominic Poleon capitalising on an error from goalkeeper Jonathan Bond before Romain Vincelot and Matthew Kilgallon struck from set-pieces.
Jack Baldwin scored from a corner in an improved second-half for Posh, but by then the damage was already done.
The result - a first league defeat of the season - sees them fall to third in League One.
McCann said: “We weren’t good first-half. We let everything we’re good at go in the first-half. We didn’t win the first balls, we didn’t win the second balls, we didn’t win the third balls.
“We lacked energy, we lacked spark, we conceded off two set-plays, we conceded off a cross - a mistake from Bondy who by the way has been tremendous all season. He’s just made one little error and gets punished.
“But second-half there was a reaction and a really good reaction. We could possibly have had another goal. I thought the formation change definitely helped us, bringing more legs into midfield and overloading their midfield.
“I’ve seen the goals back and they’re not a pretty sight. We’re well drilled on them and we work on them quite a lot. We’ve been really good at them. It’s schoolboy stuff letting someone run off you.”
McCann put the half-time deficit down to “heart, attitude, winning the second balls and doing the dirty stuff - doing the basics well.”
But he said the defeat could spark a reaction from Posh going forward, beginning with Tuesday night’s match at home to MK Dons.
He added: “It’s something we’ve been excellent at, apart from the Barnet game in the cup.
“But we didn’t do it first-half. We were lacklustre, but second-half we did and showed a reaction. We played on the front foot, the three subs made a difference to us and we ended up a lot better.
“Way too many players were off it in the first-half. Ultimately when that happens you’re in for a rude awakening.
“It’s possibly a good rude awakening though.
“We will bounce back, 100 per cent. That’s the group of players we’ve got in the changing room.”
McCann brought Michael Doughty and Ryan Tafazolli off at half-time, with Jermaine Anderson and Andrew Hughes coming on.
He said: “It wasn’t just Michael and Ryan, it’s not just a reflection of them two, it’s us as a team in the first-half.
“We needed a change, we needed a reaction and I possibly could have done it earlier. If I’m going to criticise myself I should have done it after 15, 20 minutes.
“But the way the game was going - the referee was handing out yellow cards left, right and centre. It’s probably right I did it at half-time.”
Posh ended the match with 10 men after Anthony Grant saw a late red card following two bookings.
The second was for a deliberate handball as Bradford broke, but the first was a bit of a mystery coming after a melee between players from both sides.
McCann said: “I think he asked the referee a question and got booked. That’s what Grant’s come up and told me.”
The Northern Irishman also gave a debut to Ricky Miller who was available after serving a six game suspension for biting.
Asked for his assessment on the striker’s performance after replacing Jack Marriott with half-an-hour to go, he said: “He looked sharp when he came on. I would have loved to have brought him on at half-time but I just felt we needed to get control of midfield.
“We needed a bit more legs in there.
“In 30 minutes he showed glimpses of what he could do.”