Ronnie Moore stressed Tranmere must learn to defend better after Gillingham ran out 2-1 winners at Prenton Park on Friday.
Adebayo Akinfenwa's double was sandwiched by Jim McNulty's red card and while Ryan Lowe grabbed a late consolation for Rovers with his 14th goal of the season, they could not prevent the visitors winning their first game in four.
"It was a tough night no doubt about it," said Moore. "I think if you put their two centre-halves in our team we win it, simple as that.
"If you can't defend you don't win games. We always looked like we were going to get a goal, but every time they went forward they looked like they were going to score.
"That's the disappointing thing for me and that's the way it's been for the last few weeks.
"We've got two guys (McNulty and Ash Taylor) who think they're footballers and they're centre-halves, their living is to go and head it go and kick and do the right things in the right areas and if you don't do that, that (losing) is what happens to the team.
"We're a match for anybody going forward, but I always say when we're attacking we're defending.
"We think we're (Franz) Beckenbauer and we're not and it's costing us dearly at the moment."