Paul Simpson admits Carlisle are in serious trouble after a 3-2 defeat at Orient left them 10 points adrift of safety with 16 games remaining.
It was a fifth defeat in a row for the Cumbrians and they have won just once in their last 13 games.
The Cumbrians boss had seen his side take the lead halfway through the first-half through Josh Vela but a late brace from Shaq Forde turned this around at the interval in Orient’s favour.
And before the hour, Ruel Sotiriou had made it 3-1 to leave the visitors struggling before being awarded a penalty deep into added time for a handball offence that allowed Sean Maguire to reduce the deficit.
“I thought we started bright enough and pressed them okay which is where our goal came from,” Simpson said.
“The second goal just before half time has absolutely knocked the stuffing out of us. I thought it was a foul on Ben Barclay and so to go two-one down just before the break when we didn’t deserve that was a bit unfair on us.
“The third goal was a really poor one to give away. We need to be a bit nastier and street wise to keep a foothold in the game and learn the things that Orient done well .
“This was always going to be a tough game but the truth of it is we’re in serious trouble and this was the day we needed to start getting wins. We let ourselves down in lacking quality. We need to keep working hard and keep going because that’s all we can do.”
Whilst Simpson’s woes increase, Richie Wellens has manoeuvred his charges into ninth place in the league although still 10 points off the play-offs.
“We started the game well and then probably for a 20-minute period, we started to play backwards and took too many touches but then we pushed our full-backs much higher and they couldn’t really deal with it,” the Orient boss reflected.
“To get a second goal just before half time was a big bonus. Apart from Ruel Sotiriou’s goal in the second half it became a bit of a nothing game. We became a bit sloppy and I was disappointed to concede the penalty in the last minute.
“We’ll be without Dan Agyei now for the season because of injury.
“Ruel’s press is really good and I thought he was brilliant in the first half getting into key positions. Shaq Forde has a lot of variety he can score with both feet and we will need both between now and the end of the season.
“Overall it’s a good day but I don’t think we had to reach our best levels to get the three points.”