Sam Allardyce admitted his West Ham United team had been their own worst enemies in Saturday's 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Reading.
Speaking to West Ham TV in typically honest fashion, the manager said the Hammers gifted the Royals three points. First, James Collins played in Pavel Pobregnyak with a short backpass that the Russian finished expertly past Jussi Jaaskelainen for the game's opening goal. Then, with time running out, the returning Ricardo Vaz Te inexplicably headed Matt Jarvis's cross past the post when it seemed easier to score.
"The phrase 'Bogey team' is right for Reading because no matter what we do or when we seem to play them, we cannot get a result out of the game," said Big Sam, who also saw his side beaten twice by Reading in the npower Championship last season. "Obviously, when you look at Saturday's game and the two bloopers we made - one to gift them the first goal and the other when Vaz missed the easiest chance I've seen in a Premier League match for about ten years - I still cannot believe it now.
"That chance was what we had waited patiently for after dominating the second half completely. It was the right opportunity to break down Reading's stubborn defence with eight, nine or ten men behind the ball. It came and it went and we should have scored.
"We might well have gone on to win the game had we scored that but I think we'd have got a point on the balance of play but we didn't and we paid a heavy price for those two mistakes."
Sadly for Collins, it is not the first time a mis-hit backpass has cost the Hammers dear this season. The No19 also left the ball short at Swansea City in August, allowing Michu to open the scoring in a 3-0 defeat at the Liberty Stadium.
"You can't legislate for it because you don't expect that sort of thing to happen. When a player makes one mistake like that in a season, it's generally only the only one and you don't see it again, but that's two because James made the same sort of mistake at Swansea early doors.
"We haven't seen anything like that since but, lo and behold, it lifted up Reading. They haven't earned their goal - we gifted it to them. Then it was a slow recovery from us until the second half, when we started applying the sort of pressure that we should have done more of in the first half.
"We waited for the golden chance and the golden chance came and we missed it so we got no points."
Vaz Te's glaring miss aside, both he and fellow substitute Jack Collison gave West Ham added impetus and energy in the final third, with the latter also working Royals goalkeeper Adam Federici with a fierce low drive.
However, the manager lamented the lack of options he has had available in a run of one victory in eight Barclays Premier League matches. And Big Sam's frustration was compounded by Kevin Nolan and Collins receiving yellow cards that sees them suspended from the New Year's Day visit of Norwich City.
"Vaz did well and Jack made some really good runs. Everyone talks about our injuries being an excuse but they are a fact of life. Injured players not being able to play cost you an awful lot and it has cost us an awful lot in results terms - not so much our performances because they have been relatively good - because we haven't had enough players to select from like the other teams.
"We're now in a position of our worst run of results this season and then the unprofessionalism of our players, due to frustration, means our skipper gets booked and James Collins gets booked [and are now suspended for Tuesday].
"Losing the game was hard enough but to lose these two players for the next game in the last game of the suspension period [made it even worse]. If they get booked on Tuesday there is no suspension, but they went and got themselves booked at Reading.
"It's tough going for us at the minute so we have dig in, become a bit more resilient and show a bit more quality in the final third and make sure we try to win and get three points as quickly as possible."