Reading manager Steve Coppell was shocked by the paucity of his side's display in the 2-0 home defeat against relegation-haunted Fulham.
The loss dragged the Royals back into trouble and Coppell had no excuses after the game.
He admitted: "They were better than us and deserved to win. It was no accident. We're not going to try to put up any kind of defence.
"The result hurts more than anything. We just have to take it on the chin though and bounce back and try and get a result next week.
"Winning today would have put us in a really strong position to achieve our goal for the season.
"To lose makes life a lot more complicated. It's all for us to do, but we have the opportunity to do it. We were poor and we have to turn it around an awful lot.
"I don't think many of my players have been in this situation before, and when we went a goal down you could almost see a tightening, a heightened anxiety.
"There was a nervous rush about our play which wasn't productive. At this stage of the season, you're fully aware that if you make a mistake then it could be very costly. That puts you right on the edge."