Gary Megson believed poor decision-making cost Bolton the game after seeing his side lose 3-1 to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland raced to a 2-0 lead thanks to the classy Kieran Richardson and Kenwyne Jones, but El-Hadji Diouf pulled one back for Bolton just before half-time.
The Trotters then put Sunderland under tremendous second-half pressure, but could not score and Black Cats' substitute Daryl Murphy secured the win in stoppage time.
Gary Megson described it as a "painful result" and bemoaned his players' decision-making.
"We have set off okay again. Some of our decision-making in terms of critical decisions has cost us the game and the way that we approached it - if we had played in the first half how we went about it.......we'd have got something here," said Megson, who believed this game was similar to that against Everton on Boxing Day.
"We set off fine, I thought we were on the front foot, but Sunderland got themselves into a dangerous position and then some of our tackling, and as I say decision-making in that instance let us down."
Asked whether he had sensed a second Bolton goal coming before Sunderland got their third, he said: "I think they only got a late third because we were playing both centre-halves as centre-forwards and gambling.
"We had a lot of possession. We had territorially a lot more opportunity than Sunderland did, but they were fighting for their lives, as we ourselves are, and they threw their bodies in the way and got a lot of players back behind the ball, hence when they did clear it they couldn't cause us any problems.
"But it is a lot easier to hang on to what was a two-nil lead at one stage then it is getting back into the game."
He believed his team's defending was poor for the first goal.
"If we had just stayed on our feet and just shepherded the ball into safe areas I think Kieran Richardson, instead of shooting, would have been crossing and hopefully we can deal with that," said Megson, who believed there had been a "great delivery" from Richardson for the second goal when they had allowed Kenwyne Jones "to get across the front of us" to score.
"(We) got ourselves back into it. I thought in the second half we were way on top but, as I say, when you are defending a lead, you can get a lot of bodies in the box and in front of goal. That is a lot easier than what we were having to do which was down to our own poor football."
When questioned as to the future, Megson said: "We are where we are. We have got to try and bring some fresh blood into the football club.
"But those players that we do bring in have got to be better than the ones that they are hopefully replacing."