Newcastle Jets coach Phil Stubbins acknowledged his side were outplayed by Melbourne City as their winless road streak in the Hyundai A-League extended to 13 matches.
Jets - without an away win since March last year - fell behind after 18 minutes when their ex-captain Kew Jaliens, sacked in January this month, opened the scoring.
Further goals to Harry Novillo, David Williams and Iain Ramsay followed as City recorded a convincing 4-0 triumph at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Rock-bottom Newcastle are winless since December and after their latest defeat, Stubbins told reporters: "From start to finish, we weren't at the races. You can't hide behind a performance like that. We were clearly outplayed by a better team on the day.
"[It was] a performance that wasn't worthy of our own expectations. It wasn't good enough.
"It's a small group of players that we have got and although Melbourne City have got a turnaround of three games in a week, it was pretty clear that our boys were second best.
Stubbins said the club had no ill-feeling towards Jaliens, despite his surprise departure, but bemoaned his side's marking for the defender's goal, as he volleyed in a corner from seven yards.
"Kew's been a player at a good level for a long period of time. Things have moved on and he's here now," he added.
"He's at a club with a fair array of talent amongst their stocks. There's no animosity towards Kew at all.
"We conceded from the set-piece [for Kew's goal], which was unfortunate, but it was poor marking. There's not much to say [for the performance] after that."
Stubbins - who said Newcastle fans needed to recognise they were without 'the real quality and depth that's needed' - was insistent that his side would give their all for the remainder of the campaign, though.
"We have got six games to go," he continued.
"There's a lot of things on the players' minds - is it contracts, is it fatigue? There's a lot of things to take into account. We've got an eye to the future…we had a bad day at the office today but we'll re-group and we'll go again."