Lee Ashcroft accepts Dundee can’t afford a repeat of their performance against Ayr when they travel to Alloa on Friday.
The centre-back says the Dark Blues “made it easy” for David Hopkin’s Honest Men on Tuesday as they fell to a lacklustre 3-1 home defeat.
That was their second defeat in three games and means they have won just two of their last eight.
Despite Friday’s opponents Alloa being rock bottom of the Championship, Ashcroft knows there will be no easy ride at the Indodrill Stadium.
The defender missed the Dee’s last trip to Clackmannanshire due to Covid-19, a match Dundee came from 2-0 and 3-1 down to draw 3-3.
Saturday’s victory over Arbroath had been a positive step for the Dark Blues but, once more, a setback was lurking just around the corner.
Ashcroft accepts much better is required between now and the end of the season.
“Losing on Tuesday makes Friday harder now,” he said.
“If we had beaten Ayr, we would have gone into the Alloa game full of confidence.
“Now, it is going to be a tough game.
“It is always difficult going there but it is a bit harder now with the poor result against Ayr.
“We only have a couple of days before Alloa and that is a good thing – the game coming so quickly.
“Hopefully we can put it right then.
“I have never gone to Alloa and had an easy game. They are definitely no mugs and can play a bit as well.
“We know what to expect. I missed the last one there unfortunately but they gave us a hell of a game and we were lucky to come away with a point.
“We know it will be a battle but we have two days to recover and, hopefully, put things right.
“We gifted Ayr goals and that cannot happen on Friday.”
How the match unfolded
Dundee welcomed Ayr to Dens on Tuesday expecting to add to the good performance they put in against the Red Lichties.
Despite a positive start, things fell apart after Paul McGowan was robbed of the ball inside his own half and allowed Mark McKenzie to open the scoring for the struggling Honest Men.
Ayr had found themselves in the relegation play-off spot before parting company with manager Mark Kerr and bringing in the experienced David Hopkin.
The Hopkin mentality kicked in for his new side after they took the lead, when they rarely looked like giving Dundee a route back into the contest.
Another sloppy goal followed after the break when Christie Elliott was beaten in the corner by Patrick Reading.
His cross then found its way to Cammy Smith via the foot of Charlie Adam and the former Dundee United man made it 2-0.
McKenzie would smash in for 3-0 before Osman Sow grabbed a consolation goal late on.
Ashcroft said: “It was a different Ayr team to the one we are used to but we knew what to expect with the new manager coming in.
“There were a couple of slack mistakes for the goals and I think we made it easy for them in the end so we are bitterly disappointed.
“Early on we had the majority of the play, had a couple of half chances and we felt comfortable in the game.
“We made a silly mistake to lose a goal but we were still feeling good at half-time.
“However, we didn’t start the second half too well and at the end of the day we made it easy for them conceding three sloppy goals.
“We got one back but it was too late by that point.
“So we are disappointed in our own part.
“I don’t think they played too well but they beat us and it is our own doing.”
Championship is ‘very tight’
Elsewhere, third-placed Raith Rovers lost at home to Inverness Caley Thistle, meaning Dundee can still go level with second-placed Dunfermline if they get the better of Alloa.
The Championship continues to be unpredictable with just 13 points separating the bottom nine teams.
Ashcroft added: “The league is very tight.
“The reason we try to concentrate on ourselves is that you don’t know what to expect from other results.
“I watched the Inverness v Raith game on TV from last Friday and it could have been five each.
“Everybody is beating everybody else but we need to concentrate on ourselves first and foremost and Ayr wasn’t good enough.
“We played all right but the slack goals made it easy for them.”