Coach Daryl Powell admitted his Castleford Tigers side were well below their best in Friday night’s 18-10 loss against Leeds Rhinos.
Powell was unhappy with some decisions against his team, but conceded Leeds “just about” deserved to win.
Tigers trailed 14-0, but scored back-to-back tries around the hour mark to give themselves a chance before Leeds sealed their first win in five visits to the Jungle.
It was Tigers’ first game following the news Powell has signed a contract extension until the end of 2022 and he said: “I thought we were poor.
“The amount of errors we made in the first half put us under too much pressure and Leeds took advantage.
“I suppose 6-0 is pretty tight at half-time, but we conceded a really soft try straight afterwards and that hurt us.”
Powell was upset at some of his team’s decision-making, particularly a poor pass by Greg Eden which led to Rhinos’ decisive try.
And he added: “I don’t think at any point we played with any fluency.
“We have got half-backs sat down all over the place so having to put Pete [Mata’utia] in there - Jordan [Rankin] was so good at full-back last week we put Pete in at half and I don’t think that worked.
“We didn’t get any fluency in our attacking play and Leeds just about deserved it.
“I thought there were some tough calls against us, but ultimately Leeds deserved to win the game and we were a long way off being at our best.”
Jake Trueman (concussion) joined Tigers’ injury list before the game and Powell added: “IN some ways it was understandable, we have got key players missing, but we should be able to come up with a better effort than that.”