Tommy Wright refused to use his injury woes as an excuse after seeing St Johnstone slump against part-time Montrose.
The Perth boss was missing five first-team regulars while another three were only fit enough for a place on the bench as Saints kicked off their Betfred Cup campaign at Links Park.
And there was further pain after Terry Masson fired the League One Gable Endies' winner with 18 minutes left.
"It's no excuse that it's the first game of the season," he said. "I can't butter it up. It was a poor performance and poor result. It doesn't matter about the injuries. We had a good enough team to go out there and win the game.
"We lacked urgency and it was a performance where people were waiting for things to happen.
"We made wrong decisions.
"We looked toothless. That level of performance clearly wasn't acceptable."
McDiarmid Park chairman Steve Brown released a statement before kick-off announcing he was prepared to go "the extra mile" to bring Stevie May back to the club from Aberdeen amid competition from Dundee.
But Wright is not concerned by the club's decision to go with a smaller squad this term.
He said: "I don't check on the internet but I'm told it was going into meltdown after my comments yesterday.
"I don't see anything negative in them. We knew we'd be going with less players and we're trying to bring more quality in."
Montrose boss Stewart Petrie was delighted with the way his team bounced back from Saturday's Ross County trouncing.
He said: "We're still treating this like pre-season so we're not going to get carried away but it is a big thing for boys when they can beat a really, really good top-flight side.
"It was a super goal from Terry. That gave us enough to hang on in the final stages."