Dennis Kutrieb admitted that his defenders struggled to contain Dagenham’s front pairing of Paul McCallum and Darren McQueen as they bagged three goals between them.
But the Fleet boss was equally aggrieved that some of the goals presented to the home side were handed to them on a platter, with the National League side clinical in finishing those off.
“It’s very hard to take for us because I think we started good,” the Fleet manager told BBC Radio Kent’s Charles Webster. “Then we concede an easy goal again from a set piece – well done to Paul McCallum. We tried to sort it out before the game, tried to do some different things in training sessions so that we were prepared for him but for me he’s one of the best players in the National League.
“We can’t defend against him, so fair play he’s better than us. We were not able to defend against him today and I think all dangerous situations came from him. He really did have a good game for them.
“I saw him many times before. Last season at Barnet he was outstanding as well. He’s one of the best strikers in the National League and so you need to have a very good day to defend against him. But our defenders, all of our of our team today, we were not good enough to [do that].”
Darren McQueen’s brace in the second half put the game out of Fleet’s reach just as Lee Martin’s goal and Rakish Bingham’s near effort that brought a low save out of goalkeeper Elliott Justham suggested the visitors might mount a comeback.
“Those goals were more gifts than good play,” said Kutrieb, “but [McQueen] did it well and I think those two boys matched very well together, one is more to getting up for the headers, the other one is more for the second ball, is quick in behind. You always have to take care as if he can sniff a situation or a chance he will take it. So both of them were very good but we knew that before and we were not good enough.
“I said on the bench that we gifted them, I don’t know, four goals… and that’s too easy and they punished us for it. That’s another quality they’ve got. It’s not National League South, it’s National League but as I’ve said before National South teams punish us as well.
“We started well in the first half until we conceded the first goal. And in the second half as well we started well and scored the first goal.
“I thought perhaps now we can start to come back into the game and I think everybody could feel it because we were on the front foot, they were on the back foot. But then Bobby-Joe Taylor, it’s such an easy mistake and we concede the fourth goal and the game was gone.”
Fleet now gear up for a triple whammy of Kent derbies, two Dartford clashes either side of a visit to Welling United. It’s a huge 10 days for the Fleet and the boss knows it.
“We will have a hard week now to go forward and to get better,” he said. “We need to defend better as a team, we need more communication on the pitch and we have to work hard with three big games in the next 10 days.
“We can say it’s positive that we scored two goals against a National League side. Normally, you can win a game when you score two goals away at a National League side but you have to defend better. But now’s not the time to talk too much [about that] because we have to work harder as a team with more passion, more communication. In some situations we did it good but their striker is another quality and we are not able to defend it because he’s better than us.”