Sam Allardyce was making no excuses after his West Ham United side were knocked out of the Capital One Cup courtesy of a 4-1 third-round defeat by Wigan Athletic at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday.
A disappointing evening had started well when Modibo Maiga rattled in his second Hammers goal after just seven minutes, but a series of defensive lapses allowed the Latics to take a commanding 3-1 lead in at half-time.
Wigan's Argentina international striker Mauro Boselli scored either side of Ivan Ramis' individual effort to leave a large home crowd stunned. The second period saw West Ham attempt to mount a comeback, but any hopes of forcing extra time were dashed by substitute Jordi Gomez's late penalty.
Afterwards, Big Sam conceded that his team had not reached the standard required to keep Roberto Martinez's side at bay.
"It was more than disappointing because I didn't expect to be as shocked as I am after the game," he told West Ham TV. "It was a horrific night of defending and gifted the opposition an easy run through to the next round of the Capital One Cup.
"We started so brightly by doing the right things and got a great goal by Maiga and then we stopped doing the right things. We did what we had to do initially by stopping them doing what they wanted to do, which is what you need to do in any game.
"We made nine changes because I want to see what I've got and because a lot of players want to show my what they've got but in the end only the younger ones came out with any credit. So did Maiga of course with his goal because I thought it was an excellent strike. The rest of the lads were way below.
"You have to give Wigan credit because they have been in the Barclays Premier League a long time now and their squad was stronger than ours. We paid the price for some really horrific defending because they took advantage of it."
The manager believed all three first-half goals could have been prevented - the first when Boselli nipped between the centre-backs to score, the second when Ramis was allowed to run unchallenged from halfway before firing in from 22 yards and the third when Boselli beat the offside trap before chipping Stephen Henderson.
"It was not doing your job properly and when you don't do your job properly then you get punished heavily at this level. It didn't look like it was going to happen because it wasn't right from the start. We looked very comfortable and got one-nil up with a lovely goal.
"It's all well and good talking about how good these lads are in possession but the bottom line is that when you turn the ball over you have to be good defenders at this level and our defending was abysmal."
Big Sam handed starts to Jordan Spence, Rob Hall and Dan Potts, while Matthias Fanimo and debutant Dylan Tombides appeared from the bench.
"For the young players it is about having the mental strength and the desire to produce your ability on a regular basis and punish the opposition. The experience was good for them because it showed them the level they need to get to.
"In saying that, when I make a lot of changes it is my responsibility as well because it was my decision to make those changes so it is as much my responsibility as it is theirs. I needed to know what I have got.
"The other disappointing thing is that Alou Diarra was injured and Yossi Benayoun couldn't play because Yom Kippur landed on the day and he couldn't play because of his religious commitments. They would have made us better because they would have been playing and I think it would have been a lot different."