Steven Pressley felt Carlisle United lacked “character and determination” in their defeat to struggling Notts County.

The Blues’ 3-1 reverse dealt another blow to their play-off hopes, sending them down to 8th.

It was one of United’s worst home displays of the League Two campaign in a game played in awful weather conditions due to Storm Gareth.

Pressley said the heavy wind and rain took its toll on the spectacle but accepted Notts County handled things much better than his own side.

Yet although the manager’s selection and "false nine" system has come in for criticism from some fans, he denied that United’s tactics were the reason they were second best.

“It wasn’t a tactical game,” Pressley said. “It was a game where there’s virtually little in the way of tactics.

“It was a game when you have to roll your sleeves up and win second balls, and win headers.

“It’s not a game of chess, this type of game. It’s a totally different game – a game where I think the character is the most important aspect.

“The disappointing aspect is they [Notts] showed greater character than us and, in the end, deserved to win the game.”

Asked why Notts were able to cope with the conditions better than United and attackied into the wind better than Carlisle had managed, the Blues boss said: “It’s difficult to put my finger on it.

“I did think there was a definite drop in the conditions in the second half. I actually came out and their assistant said, ‘They’ve turned the wind machine off.’

“But that’s no excuse. I felt in the first half the conditions were really difficult but we never got that first or second pass away, and I don’t think we showed the determination required to win.”

United have now won just once in their last seven games.

Pressley conceded it was a big missed opportunity after Carlisle’s win against Swindon on Saturday.

“We went into this game on the back of a good result, it was a really good opportunity for us to build on that, and we didn’t do so,” he said.

“It’s told me a number of things. I’ve been in here now just short of two months and you find out things all the time.

“That type of performance is not the type of performance that gives you a chance of gaining promotion.”

Pressley admitted United had to “eradicate” errors such as Gary Liddle’s poor backpass which allowed Kane Hemmings to open the scoring for Neal Ardley’s side.

The Blues boss said he did not get a clear view of the incident which then enabled the Magpies to double their lead from the penalty spot in the second half, Hemmings scoring after Anthony Gerrard was penalised for a challenge on Richard Duffy.

Hallam Hope gave Carlisle a glimmer with an unlikely goal when he lurked on the goalline out of the sight of visiting keeper Ryan Schofield, sprinting back to steal the ball as the Notts man rolled it out and then slotting it into the net.

That, though, proved a slim consolation as Lewis Alessandra broke clear to score an injury-time third for Notts, United’s net having been vacated by keeper Adam Collin who had come forward to contest a Blues attacking set-piece.

On Hope’s bizarre goal, Pressley said: “It was a good goal, but it was one of the positives of very few on the night’s performance.”

He also said Nathan Thomas’ substitute display was worthy of credit.

“I thought that was the first time we’ve really seen him [Thomas] looking like he’s gonna cause danger, like he can make something happen,” Pressley added.

“We put him on at the weekend and I didn’t think he quite hit the heights we want from him, but [against Notts] he was much more like the Thomas we know, so that was encouraging.”

Pressley said he expects his players to show their mettle as they now prepare for Saturday’s trip to sixth-placed Forest Green. The Cumbrians are a point behind the Gloucestershire club and seventh-placed Colchester.

“I’ll just have to refocus, and a lot of that comes down to players as well,” he said.

“They’ve got to show their determination – that’s part of being a football player.

“We’ll work again towards the team at the weekend and we’ll do what we always do, prepare properly. Nothing will change in that department.

“In the aftermath [of last night] we have to analyse and be honest about it. We have to do better than that, and that’s the bottom line.”