Salford coach Iestyn Harris accused his players of taking short-cuts after they almost let slip a winning position during their 35-22 victory over Hull at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The Red Devils produced a tough defensive stint and ran in tries through Rangi Chase and home debutants Mason Caton-Brown and Josh Griffin to lead 19-0 after 50 minutes but failed to press home their advantage as Hull recovered from the sin-binning of Jordan Rankin to score four tries in the last 25 minutes.
"Firstly, I'm delighted with the win," Harris said. "We're building a reputation here as a physical team that is prepared to work for each other and I thought for 50 minutes we improved that reputation.
"But the last 30 minutes wasn't good enough for us. We fell in love with ourselves a little bit and started to cut a few corners, which is not acceptable. We've lost an opportunity here."
Caton-Brown added a second try, making it three in just four appearances since joining Salford from London Broncos, while Greg Johnson and Darrell Griffin also touched down in the second half as the home side stayed in front to make it back-to-back wins and provide plenty of encouragement for Red Devils fans disappointed at the non-appearance of new signing Kevin Locke.
Josh Griffin, younger brother of Darrell, scored four goals from six attempts in addition to his try and pulled off two try-saving tackles on Hull winger Tom Lineham at crucial times.
"Josh has sneaked under the radar," Harris said. "People have been talking about Mason and Kevin coming in and Josh has had three really good games for us now.
"He's big and athletic and causes teams trouble. We're excited about him."
No risks with Locke
Harris opted not to risk Locke, the New Zealand Test full-back, after he picked up a groin injury on his debut at Huddersfield.
"It was touch and go for him," Harris said. "He's obviously a player you want on the field because he's got great ability but he had a slight twinge in his groin and we thought it was the right thing to do to make sure that's fully right before we put him on the field."
Salford's victory, which means that London Broncos will be relegated if they lose at Warrington on Sunday, keeps alive their outside chances of a top-eight finish but Harris is realistic enough to appreciate the size of their task.
"We're all desperate to get into the play-offs but we're seven games away from that," he said. "What we do over the next nine weeks will determine whether we are in there or not. We've got a lot of improving to do to beat good teams and we'll be making those improvements on the training field this week."
Centre Kirk Yeaman scored two tries and skipper Danny Houghton created others for Dean Hadley and Jamie Shaul but Hull's defeat casts them further adrift of eighth-placed Widnes.
"I'm used to the frustration," coach Lee Radford said. "It's the same every week. We have a dig but unfortunately we're not quite there. We need to turn these battling performances into a result.
"They had a real physical period in the first half. They are aggressive in what they do, sitting ball players on their arses, and they got away with a lot. There were some positives out there.
"We had 10 kids out there who have come through the youth structure and that's pleasing. It's a great learning curve for them and I'm sure will gain from the experience."