Mauricio Pellegrino admitted Southampton looked short of confidence even after taking the lead in defeat to Crystal Palace.
Shane Long’s first goal of the season put Saints in charge, giving Pellegrino’s men an advantage they maintained until the 69th minute in monsoon conditions at St Mary’s.
But James McArthur levelled the scores from close range before Luka Milivojevic struck the winner for a rejuvenated Palace side ten minutes from time.
“I think we gave them the possibility to react,” said the manager.
“We played five steps deeper, without the confidence to go forward and try to score the second goal.
“Obviously we let them into the game with the first goal and the second goal was a knock for our players. We couldn’t react after that.
“I don’t know if it’s the pressure or the lack of confidence, but we had to read the game much better.
“Especially with the weather and the pitch it was difficult, but sometimes you have to clear the ball and not give them the possibility.
“The lack of confidence is the worst thing that we have – the small things are really big for us when you are a little bit down.
“It’s part of our job and part of football, with one winner and one loser. We have to react, use our best character to be better and realise that we are in a difficult situation.”