Oxford United manager Karl Robinson admitted he and his players were left 'frustrated, angry and upset' by their 1-0 defeat to relegation-threatened Northampton Town on Tuesday.
Oxford's hopes of getting their play-off push back on track were dashed when Sam Hoskins scored the decisive goal 10 minutes into the second-half.
The visitors started brightly but missed a couple of early chances and struggled to create anything once they fell behind, leaving them three points off the top six.
Robinson was disappointed with his side's performance, although he did feel aggrieved not to be awarded a very early penalty for handball on the goal-line by Ryan Watson.
"It wouldn't have looked pretty for 45 minutes but as dour as it was, from my point view it was clean and it was what we wanted from the first-half - to go in 0-0," said Robinson.
"We spoke about getting to 60 minutes at 0-0 and we knew they would get in our faces and they would press us but it would have opened up and we would have been able to play late on.
"We've seen Northampton play many times and there's a pattern to them - once they get into a rhythm and you start playing backwards and square, it becomes very hard to play against.
"That's the frustrating thing because we played backwards at the start of the second-half, we got caught in the press and we couldn't get back on level terms.
"There should be a blatant handball, I can't believe the referee hasn't seen it, but I'm not going to come out and use external reasons for why we haven't won because it's about us moving forward and learning.
"We're frustrated, angry and upset but we have a clear direction and we've got 10 games left to go and achieve what we want to do. It becomes harder after tonight but we can still do it - we just have to believe we can do it."