Keith Hill cited a clear disparity in resources as a key reason for Barnsley's comprehensive defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest.
The visitors moved into the npower Championship play-off places after rounding off an unbeaten October with a convincing 4-1 victory at Oakwell.
It leaves the Tykes looking nervously over their shoulders at the relegation zone and when asked where the defeat left his side, Hill underlined the ongoing challenge he faces.
"We're in the same position as we were yesterday - trying to punch above our weight," the Barnsley manager said.
"Take the emotion out of it, you can't give a good team bad goals, and that's what we've done today.
"The players are responsible for the decisions they make on the pitch and they made bad decisions today and it's cost us the game. We got a one-goal advantage and then we imploded.
"But I haven't got the same agenda as Nottingham Forest.
"On paper, it's not a real match-up when you look at Nottingham Forest compared to ourselves.
I'll admit it, they're a better side than us.
"You look at the likes of (Billy) Sharp, (Simon) Cox,
(Jermaine) Jenas - I mean come on!"
Forest had to come from behind to claim the spoils, former City Ground favourite Marlon Harewood slotting the hosts ahead at the end of a swift counter-attack in the 24th minute.
But the response, when it came, was decisive. Three goals in 10 first-half minutes left the hosts on the ropes.
Greg Halford, Cox and Chris Cohen grabbed a goal apiece, the latter firing in from 25 yards on the stroke of half-time to leave Hill stunned.
"You don't see it coming. They're an excellent side but we have helped them today and hindered our own progress," he added.
"It's difficult to digest at this moment, but basically bad individual mistakes have cost us."
The icing on the cake for the visitors was Jenas' goalscoring cameo as he netted his fist since returning to the club on loan from Tottenham.
Forest boss Sean O'Driscoll admitted it was a huge boost to have someone of his quality on the bench.
"I know he's a Nottingham boy, but for somebody that has played at the level he has - you always worry when a big-name player comes to your club but he's been first-class," O'Driscoll said.
"His attitude has been first-class. He's training really hard, he's got fitter as the month has gone on.
"He's come on and he's made a difference for us. I'm delighted he's got a goal, it will give him great confidence after such an injury-ravaged couple of seasons."
O'Driscoll even had some kind words for Tykes goalscorer Harewood, who started his career at Forest and had a short goalless spell with the club last season.
"I've always liked Marlon, he's an honest player, it was a good finish by him," he said. "We should have gone ahead before, we got a little bit complacent."
And he was pleased with the overall performance of his side, despite conceding he has not yet identified his strongest starting XI.
"It's difficult to pick my best 11, it's still forming and we've had suspensions," he said. "You take one step forwards sometimes and two steps back.
"But regardless of the score, I thought our approach was good, our attitude was good. They're a team that if you let them get fluid they're able to pass the ball, and we stopped that."