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.
- Related Content
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.
The home faithful jeered Dyche and his troops as they trudged off and the Burnley boss conceded they were not at the races.
"I'm disappointed more than frustrated. It's a very poor performance, simple as that. Unacceptable," he 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 tonight. There were too many players who looked confused with their performance. 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.
"The only thing we can assure is we need to improve on that, we need to go hard because there's enough games to make it. But it's a big challenge now because those are the games you have to be winning."
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."
The former Coventry boss concedes the Terriers remain a work in progress but lauded the squad's collective willingness to learn.
"Everything I've asked them to do, they are trying," he added. "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).
"I'm just thankful we managed to get our noses in front, hold the lead and get the three points. It's four points from two games and two clean sheets and long may it continue."