Crewe manager Dario Gradi refused to criticise his players after they slumped to a 3-1 defeat against League Two leaders Southend.
The Shrimpers needed two late goals from sub Bilel Mohsni to secure the win after Crewe full-back Harry Davis cancelled out Kane Ferdinand's first-half opener.
Gradi said: "They didn't win easily and I actually thought we were the better side.
"We created more chances than them but we didn't punish their mistakes while they they punished us for ours.
"Conceding late goals is becoming a bit of a bad habit of late but I am not going to lift the players by moaning at them. They are down and disappointed.
"We've got to improve our play and we have certainly got to improve our defending although I don't think we are that far off. They have beefed up their team and I realise I will have to do the same."