Steve Evans said his Crawley Town side did not deserve to keep a clean sheet in the first half and had to "rattle a few cages" at the interval before they built on their 1-0 half-time advantage to beat Rotherham comfortably on Saturday.
Billy Clarke scored the opener in the 44th minute, before a Gary Alexander penalty and a strike by captain Pablo Mills made sure of a 3-0 victory and a third win in a row.
"The first half was as poor as we've been for a little while," confessed Reds boss Evans, who clearly expected better after the 1-0 disciplined victory at Gillingham on Tuesday.
"We went in at half-time and we had to rattle one or two people. We've not had to do that in a while. "Rotherham were the better side in the first half, they were playing against a poor Crawley in the first half. In the second half I thought we completely dominated. "We had a game plan. The boys were meticulous at Gillingham where we had a game plan and for some reason one or two didn't want to do that. So it makes the team unbalanced.
"I don't think possibly we deserved to keep a clean sheet in the first half but they did and sometimes you put players together and they have a habit of getting what they need."
In the second half matters improved, with Alex Revell less prominent for the visitors. "They came here with a mathematical chance of the play-offs. "We just need to focus on ourselves. We can't allow ourselves to focus on others," said Evans, who insisted he was unaware of other results in League Two at the time of talking to the press.
"We will hope to get enough points between now and when we go to Accrington on May 5. If we get the points we're capable of getting, we've got a chance of being in League One, but it's going to be a real tough ask."
Three wins, following three draws, has put the Reds firmly back in the race for automatic promotion, not just a play-off position. Crawley climbed a place and a point closer to the top three and sit three points behind third place with a game in hand. Crawley face Bradford at Valley Parade on Tuesday and Evans expects a difficult game against a club he rates as one that should be playing higher up the pyramid.
"They are where they are because they didn't get enough points during a season," said Evans, who considers them a huge club for the division, backed by statistics that gives the Bantams an average crowd in five figures.