John Hughes said Hartlepool now "need a miracle" to win their League One survival battle after a 3-0 loss at Oldham.
Oldham's outstanding player Jose Baxter set up goals for Robbie Simpson and Jean Yves Mvoto before scoring the third himself to lift his side out of the relegation zone and leave Pools second from bottom after their winless run was extended to five matches.
Hughes, whose side are seven points from safety, said: "This was our cup final, but you would never have believed it.
"We needed to snarl, bite, win tackles and chase every ball, but it didn't happen.
"We need a miracle to stay up now and, if we keep playing like that, we've got no chance.
"We've given ourselves hope over the last few weeks, so it was bitterly disappointing to see that performance.
"These performances creep in now and again and there was too much acceptance of what was happening.
"We needed people to wear their heart on their sleeve and win individual battles, but the only leaders were in Oldham shirts.
"Oldham were hungrier and it was transparent that some of our players didn't want to get into the right areas."