Salford coach Ian Watson pulled no punches after watching his side waste the chance to climb to fourth in the Super League table on Thursday night.
The Red Devils squandered an 8-0 lead to go down 36-18 at home to Huddersfield, in a result that has them looking nervously below them in the table.
Watson said: “This was a big game for us, a chance to push ourselves into fighting for the play-offs but it was an all-around poor performance.
“Even at 8-0 we knew it wasn’t right, we were miles off. I think the worst thing that happened to us was the O’Brien injury because it brought Leeming into the game.
“We were embarrassing at points in the second half. Our defence was soft on the goal-line and that comes down to effort and attitude.
“Huddersfield were hungrier and better than us. We need to have a look at ourselves and respond. We’ve got to man up and prove we are good enough to be where we are.”
Tyrone McCarthy’s first of two tries on the night gave Salford a fourth minute lead and they were 8-0 in front when Ken Sio went over in the corner.
But they went in to half-time trailing after scores from Matty English and Innes Senior put the Giants in to a lead that they wouldn’t surrender.
Salford have had two of their squad confirm moves elsewhere for 2020 this week, while Jackson Hastings is believed to have penned a deal with Wigan.
They could slip to eighth in the table if Wakefield get a result against Catalans on Saturday.