Chesterfield manager Paul Cook admitted his team were second best in their 2-0 home defeat to Burton.
The visitors controlled the game from start to finish and a first-half brace from Adam McGurk sealed a fourth away win of the campaign.
Jordan Pickford made late saves from Jay O'Shea and Armand Gnanduillet but Burton were comfortable winners.
"There wasn't much that was good about us," he said. "It was a good day for football, the pitch was like an absolute carpet and we play like that.
"Burton could have scored more than two, we didn't look good at the back, we didn't create chances and penetrate, our passing was slow and predictable and we were poor.
"There's no getting away from that but I've got great belief in this squad and when we do have days like this its important that we analyse it properly.
"The least we should do is turn up but unfortunately we didn't, the players take that on the chin and I take that with them, I don't hide from any criticism because unfortunately we let people down."