Hartlepool boss Colin Cooper cut a frustrated figure after watching his side slump to a 1-0 defeat at Bury.
Shakers striker Daniel Nardiello, on loan from Rotherham, fired in from range to score his first goal for the club in the 48th minute.
Cooper believes there was no excuse for the defeat and said: "We really didn't show any of our qualities. The lads thought there was a possibility of coming here and grabbing something but it didn't happen.
"The players feel disappointed because they got dragged into a scruffy match. There's going to be an awful lot of them this season but you have to deal with them.
"We didn't show our quality and whether that's down to the mentality or the pitch, or a combination of both, we just didn't do what we wanted to.
"I don't make excuses and there is no excuse to be brutally honest.
"At certain times during the match we did pass the ball well, but not enough. To give them a chance to score the way we did isn't very good. It was a scruffy goal to concede and scruffy sums up the night.
"It might be one step forward and two steps back but as long as we agree the direction we're going in is the right direction, as individuals and as a football club, we'll be alright."