There was veiled criticism from his own players as Berti Vogts insisted his tactics were not to blame for Scotland's 2-0 home defeat by Austria.
Scotland's heads were down as they were booed off the field
West Ham United defender Christian Dailly suggested that moving from three at the back to a 4-4-2 had helped the Scots improve in the second half.
And Derby County midfielder Craig Burley admitted that the players had been confused by the shape adopted during the opening 45 minutes.
Burley, making his first appearance under Vogts following his injury problems, said: "I have been away 18 months, but not a great deal has changed. I have seen those performances before.
"It was a dreadful game to play in and I am sure it was a dreadful game to watch. The performance was really dire.
"We certainly had problems getting close to them in the first half and Gary Naysmith and I were getting outnumbered in the middle, while the back lads didn't know whether to squeeze in or not.
It had nothing to do with the tactics
Scotland boss Berti Vogts
"The management were not happy at half time, changed it about a bit and we did a bit better.
"I felt Austria are not a great side, but we have made them look better than they are."
Diplomatic Dailly, playing in an unfamiliar wing-back role, suggested that it was the players and not the system that was at fault in the first half but conceded: "When we switched to a straight 4-4-2, it seemed to suit us better."
But Scotland manager Vogts insisted that he had not changed the formation - and that the improvement was all down to closing down opponents better and injecting more pace into their play.
"It had nothing to do with the tactics," he said. "We had the same tactics in the second half."
One thing everyone in the Scotland camp can agree on is that they will have to show a massive improvement if they are to claim victory in their vital Euro 2004 qualifier against Germany at Hampden on 7 June.
And Vogts, whose side were jeered from the park by one of Hampden's smallest-ever crowds, was left praying for the return of injured first-choice regulars.
"We have a lot of young players and Barry Ferguson and Paul Lambert weren't playing, nor was Robert Douglas," he said.
Austria's performance pleased captain Thomas Floegel
"I hope Barry can play against Germany - I have my fingers crossed for him. We need more fight and passion in the game.
"A lot of the players looked very tired, but they have to play on 7 June against Germany."
However, Vogts hoped that being the underdogs might help his players.
"Maybe it will be easier against the Germans as they will be big favourites," he said.
Former Hearts midfielder Thomas Floegel, captaining Austria for the first time, thought his side's victory would boost confidence for their Euro 2004 campaign following two bad defeats.
But he added: "I think Scotland are trying to build up a new team with young boys and maybe against Germany things can be different."