SHATTERED Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says he hopes his side has learned a lesson after the Magpies' finals hopes were dashed by the Sydney Swans on Friday night.
The visitors gave the Swans a hell of a fright and led early in the final term, before eventually losing by 11-points at the SCG.
Buckley was clearly disappointed that his team had come so close to pulling off an upset against the Swans, yet had again failed to grab the points.
"We set ourselves for this week and treated it like a final, and it feels like we've lost a final because really our finals hopes were on the line tonight and we weren't able to get the result we wanted," Buckley said.
"It's not a great feeling when you perform ok but you fall short, it's not acceptable, it's not going to get us where we want to get to, so we need to do better."
The Pies dominated the third term for long periods and led by nine points twice in the quarter before giving up six of the last eight goals of the game, when they looked like the better side.
Collingwood had more contested possessions and won the inside 50 count but kicked a wasteful 4.7 in the third quarter when they had all the play.
Buckley said his team needed to get the basics of footy right.
"The best sides do the little things well all the time, and the message to the players after the game was that it just doesn't happen," Buckley said.
"You don't go from where we are, a competitive side, to a consistently winning side without making that step yourself.
"No one else does it for you, the opposition aren't going to make it easy for you.
"We need to kick the goals when they need to be kicked, we need to press up on a forward and spoil the ball when it needs to be spoiled, we need to hit targets when they're there to be hit.
"It's quite a simple game but it's done under severe pressure and it's done against teams that are trying to prevent you from doing the basics well, so we've still got to get better at that."
With three rounds to play this season the Pies coach refused to give up on the year, and said how Collingwood finishes off the season will carry them into 2016.
"As far as I'm concerned we want to put pressure on ourselves and we want to be challenged by games that have high pressure in them," Buckley said.
"We'll end up playing top eight sides in the next couple of weeks and we'll go into next week treating it like it's a game that we desperately want to win.
"Our pride is a bit wounded at the moment but we dust off and go again."