Akwa United's Micheal Ibe says his side's sluggish start saw them bow 2-0 to Katsina United in Thursday's rescheduled Nigeria topflight encounter at the Mohammed Dikko Stadium.
Martins Usule's eighth-minute header gave the Chanji Boys an early lead before Destiny Ashadi's 34th-minute strike handed Abdu Maikaba's men their fourth defeat of the season.
And the forward, who replaced Christian Pyagbara in the 59th minute, admits his side were not at their best, while he lauded the hosts over their winning game plan.
"It was a poor result for us because we were not at our best as a team," Ibe told Goal.
"We could have done better during the match but we must take responsibility for our defeat. We started the match slowly and conceded two goals in the first half.
"Katsina United had their game plan to win and they executed it well by taking their chances early. It was just a disappointing game for us.
"Despite we dominated the second half, they defended well to stop us from scoring. We really created some chances but we could not get a goal.
"I think that If we had avoided those goals in the first half and probably scored, we could have gotten something."
Going forward, Ibe assures that they have taken vital lessons from the defeat with a view to improving in their coming games.
"We must brace up and do better in our game plan. We need to raise our game and I think that we have learned a lot of lessons from the match.
"We have a lot to do to get better. We must prepare well for our next game and I am confident that we will bounce back."
Despite Thursday's loss, Akwa United are still second on the log with 23 points from 13 games this season.