Gary Locke admitted his side didn't defend nearly as well as they should have as Motherwell eased their way to a 4-1 win at Fir Park today.
Goals from Iain Vigurs, Lionel Ainsworth, John Sutton and James McFadden won the match for the Steelmen, with Callum Paterson's second-half header a small consolation for the 879 travelling Hearts fans.
After the match, Gary said his team didn't win their individual battles and admitted time had almost run out on Hearts' battle to avoid relegation from the SPFL Premiership.
"It was difficult today. It was a step back today after making good strides recently", he said. "Most of the day we didn't get to grips with Ainsworth and McFadden, and we didn't trouble them.
"We didn't defend well enough today. Vigurs has waltzed through the defence for their first goal, and then when we got it to 3-1, maybe gave ourselves a chance, we lose another cheap goal from a set piece, although it's not just the defence, we need to defend better as a team."
The manager's frustration also stemmed from Hearts 'taking a step back' from their recent improvement in performance and form, as Motherwell dominated the majority of the match.
"It's frustrating after making progress that we get a game like that. Motherwell adapted better to the poor pitch than we did. It wasn't a day we'd get lots of time on the ball, but we didn't get it forward enough."
"There were too many Hearts players today who were second best in their battles today. Until it's mathematically impossible, we have to keep working hard, but it's getting very close to the bit now, it's a long road back. We just have to try and win next week."