Preston North End boss Simon Grayson took little satisfaction from the fact that his side sent Oldham home empty-handed as they won 1-0 at Deepdale.
Jack King struck after just four minutes for the hosts and it proved to be the decider, moving Preston to third in the table and preserving Oldham's winless start to the campaign.
However, the manager is desperate to see his charges improve as they aim to preserve an unbeaten start to the season.
"I can't stand here and say we deserved to win and that we played really well because the bigger picture is we need to do better both with and without the ball," said Grayson. "But ultimately we won the match and that's all that matters.
"The dressing room is disappointed that we've not played anywhere near as well as we can do and we need to better both collectively and individually.
"We didn't match Oldham's energy levels, we've got to be braver and stronger, we've got to solve problems better on the pitch, but we've got to remember we've won the match.
"I want my teams to play the way Oldham did, with a purpose.
"Ultimately we can wake up in the morning knowing we won 1-0 but I'm thankful to Jamie (Jones) for the save he made the end and we will now prepare for Middlesbrough on Tuesday."
King fired home with the first opening of the game after Oldham failed to deal with Paul Gallacher's free-kick and the ball fell loose.
They had chances to double the lead, most notably debutant Jordan Hugill who fired wide late on, just goalkeeper Jamie Jones made sure of the result with a handful of sharp saves.
And Oldham manager Lee Johnson took heart from an encouraging away display, despite the defeat.
"There are signs we are improving and if the fans sat down with me and watched that in the cold light of day with no emotion they would see we are keeping the ball we are moving it quickly and creating a lot chances," he said.
"We had them on the ropes, it's okay having them on the ropes, but you've got to get that one that just sticks in the back of the net.
"That's what we are all craving and we are hoping that it come from within and it looks like it hasn't so we've got to try and do something to adjust it.
"I was really disappointed to fall behind so early on. I thought it was a silly foul to give away in the first place but I thought they took it 10 yards further then it should have been which gave them the angle, and that's how goals are scored."