Colin Cooper admits Hartlepool United face a grim battle for survival after seeing them sink to a disastrous sixth successive defeat.
Promotion hopefuls Burton romped to a 3-0 win to leave Pools just two points off the relegation zone.
Cooper now has to lift his squad for a crucial home clash with Morecambe on Monday as Pools try to avoid sliding out of the Football League.
The Hartlepool boss said: "I can go through everything, goals and so on but we've had a right kick up the backside and we've now got it all on with a very important game on Monday.
"It could turn out to be one of the biggest games we've all been involved in and we've got to be ready for it, simple as that.
"I'll take the can for performances, but the players now have a two-week challenge on their hands.
"Anything here would have been a bonus, but the game has to be erased because we can't afford to take any of it into the next one.
"There's no point dwelling on it but instead look forward to a three-game challenge.
"The challenge is to get more points than the people below is in the league. The players have to take on that challenge for Hartlepool United because, if they don't, they'll regret it for the rest of their lives."
Pools should have taken the lead in the 21st minute when substitute Marlon Harewood - on for injured top scorer Luke James - was sent clear but could only shoot against the legs of home goalkeeper Dean Lyness.
Instead, it was Burton who went in front six minutes later when Billy Kee struck from six yards after the visitors failed to defend Ian Sharps' long ball into the box.
Jimmy Phillips doubled the hosts' advantage in the 57th minute when he curled in a shot from the edge of the area and Pools' fate was sealed when home skipper Lee Bell thundered in a 22-yard free-kick in the 84th minute.
Burton boss Gary Rowett was delighted with his side's most convincing win of the season that kept them in the hunt for automatic promotion.
Rowett said: "We controlled the game really from the start and actually finished off our chances.
"I thought we played with real control, good composure and passed the ball when we needed to.
"Our front four were a threat all game and it's actually nice that we've put away the chances and won by more than one goal.
"It's not quite a first, but we've not had too many comfortable victories this season.
"We've had lots and lots of chances over the course of the season and for once we were a bit more clinical.
"We've all but sealed our play-off place now and we can relax a little bit and see if we can chase third place."