Plymouth boss Derek Adams blasted his side’s defensive display as they were hammered 5-1 at Luton Town on Saturday.
The visitors were quite simply blown away in the first half, trailing 4-0 as Luton produced a magnificent attacking display, James Collins scoring twice, with Elliot Lee and James Justin also on target.
When asked about the performance from the Pilgrims, who are now five points from safety, Adams said: “It was very poor defensively, not just as a back four, but as a team and that allowed them some really decent opportunities to get goals very quickly in the game and that set us back.
“We lost a penalty right on half time to make it 4-0 and it's a long way back after that.
“We could have stopped shots, we could have gone with the runners, could have blocked the ball in from the sides, the wide players could have gone with the runners as well, the full backs, and stopped the goals that went in.
“There was multitude of things they could have done a lot better and they just weren't at it.
“Obviously giving them off Tuesday night at Newport to get them ready for the game on Saturday has backfired and they haven't repaid me with the performance.
“That's disappointing because they were fresh and ready to go.
“The goals we gave away were extremely poor defensively.
“I wouldn’t do anything differently from the point of view that we thought we could deal with the wide areas, but our wide players didn’t track the full-backs.
“That’s how three goals came in. That tells you our wide players haven’t done their job going back the pitch.
“There is a responsibility to do your job going back the pitch and, unfortunately, three goals have come down this left-hand side of the pitch.
“The communication between the players has to be better. They have put on a very poor performance here.”
Despite his annoyance at the way in which Argyle were dismantled, Adams did give Nathan Jones' side plenty of praise for their high class display.
He continued: “The way they played, the way they passed the ball, the way they ran forward, the creativity they had in their team, they were excellent.
“A lot of credit to Luton for the way they played and the way the ball stuck to their players.
“There wasn’t many opportunities for them in the first half but they took them when they came along.
“I’m not taking anything away from Luton. They were very good but our players didn’t tackle and didn’t show the desire to stop shots.
“We didn’t get up against our man and we weren’t better than Luton all over the pitch, and that’s the reality of the situation.
"They had 11 players in the starting 11 that were better than our 11 players, and that’s the way it was.”
Adams also admitted that it was definitely a case of damage limitation in the second half, limiting Luton to just the one goal, as Collins completed his hat-trick, while Joel Grant pulled one back at the death.
He added: “We did have to try to shut up shop in the second half. We had to go deeper and allow the two Luton centre-halves to be on the ball.
“Did we attack much? No we didn’t. When we did attack we did have a few opportunities but we couldn’t allow the scoreline to get any bigger than it was.
“As I keep on saying, I’m not taking anything away from Luton because they have done well, but our players haven’t been at it at times.”