Dean Saunders conceded his Chesterfield side simply were not good enough, as the Spireites slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Coventry City.
Chesterfield went in to the game in good spirits having lost just once in their last five outings but came undone against Tony Mowbray’s well-drilled Sky Blues outfit.
The statistics told the tale as a dominant home side shaded possession, recorded 13 corners and racked up no less than 20 shots to the Spireites’ six efforts.
But the only goal of the game came five minutes in to the second half when Adam Armstrong swept home his sixth league goal of the season in front of 11,003 at the Ricoh Arena.
There was further misery for the visitors as substitute Mani Dieseruvwe received a second yellow card for deliberate handball and was sent off as Saunders’ side chased a late eqauliser.
He said: “We weren’t as good a we normally are today. We gave the ball away to many times and they sat back and counter-attacked us. If you give the ball away in front of your own goal as much as we did then you are suspect to counter attacks. They could have scored more than they scored.
“They are organised, they sat back and tried to set us traps all over the pitch. They got tight to us in midfield and probably, with a couple players having not played with us before, we were a bit unsure where to go. The main thing was, in the first half, we gave the ball to them too many times. Fortunately, Tommy (Lee) saved it or they missed.”
Saunders made four changes to his line-up as fit again trio Sam Hird, Liam O’Neil and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake made welcome returns, while there was also a first start for new recruit Chris Herd.
“It’s a new team again and you’ve got to expect teething problems,” said Saunders. “Chris Herd has come in and Liam O’Neil has gone in to midfield. It’s a different group of players and positional changes so I can’t expect everything to be perfect, but we spend all week playing possession football and we gave it away too much.
“We had a few half chances. Mani’s hit a shot and the keeper’s made a great save and when he gets sent off with ten minutes to go any sort of momentum we could muster up was gone. He was a bit unfortunate to get his first yellow card but his second one is a definite yellow card when he’s put his arm up. Red card.
“He’s got to think. I can never understand how you make daft challenges or you do daft things to get another one. It left us with ten men with ten minutes to go and then it was always going to be difficult for us. We needed to have a bit of luck in front of goal.”
Saunders now has the task of preparing his troops for the visit of top of the table Burton Albion to the Proact Stadium next Saturday.
He added: “We’ll come in to training, watch the DVD, work on what went wrong, put a few things out and get ready for Burton next week. We’re a good team and we’ve played a good team today, we take it on the chin, and get up off the floor. We’ll come in Monday and lift the players and get focused on Burton.”