Mark Hughes deemed Queens Park Rangers' first-half performance against Blackburn "unacceptable" following a 3-2 defeat.
Rangers found themselves three goals down at half-time, but Hughes was pleased with the response his side produced in narrowly missing out on a heroic point.
The former Blackburn boss has written the defeat off as a learning curve, for both him and his new crop of players, who have been working together for just over a month.
"You can't give any Premier League team a three-goal headstart," he told Sky Sports.
"As it was, we very nearly got back on level terms but, unfortunately, we gave ourselves too much to do because of the standard of our performance in the first half.
"We didn't defend correctly for the full 45 minutes in that half. We gifted two goals and then committed the cardinal sin of conceding just before half-time as well."
Rovers steamed ahead through goals from Yakubu and Steven N'Zonzi, and Nedum Onuoha's own goal on the stroke of half-time appeared to have the hosts in cruise control.
QPR were much improved after the break, though, and striker Jamie Mackie inspired a comeback trail, scoring twice from the bench.
Hughes added: "In the second half, I asked for a response, and I got it. It's still early days, I'm still getting to know people, the players and how they react in certain circumstances.
"So it's a learning curve for me and certainly for them, they understand that that first half is unacceptable."
The Rs have won just once in their last 13 Premier League games and avoid the relegation zone only through a superior goal difference over Blackburn.
Hughes is in no doubt his side are firm relegation candidates, but insists he will get his side right before the difficult season run-in.
He said: "I think everybody is aware of the situation that we're in - we're very much in that mix at the wrong end of the table.
"We just need to learn very quickly what we need to do to start winning some Premier League games and certainly away games.
"Sometimes you learn from wins, sometimes you learn from defeats and we certainly have learned something today."