John Ward admitted his Colchester side were not at their best against Hartlepool as they played out a 1-1 draw on Friday.
Pools looked like they would secure victory in the League One clash at the Community Stadium thanks to Antony Sweeney's early header.
But Freddie Sears' late penalty rescued the U's a point and maintained their three-point advantage over Hartlepool in the table.
After what was Colchester's seventh draw in eight matches, Ward said: "We can play a lot better than that and we frustrated ourselves with the way that we played. We didn't get our game going and it was a slow start from us.
"We knew Hartlepool would be hard to break down and they've won eight games away from home. We wanted to be better in front of our supporters but we've dug out a point.
"We made the changes at half-time to try and move it on, as it hadn't worked the way that I'd hoped. We lifted the tempo of the game in the second half.
"But the goal was a while coming and we still didn't threaten enough in the front end of the pitch. It's another game unbeaten but it's a draw at home, which is frustrating. It was a sloppy goal for us to concede - it's a throw-in in the bottom corner and we've not marked well."