Neil Harris couldn’t hide his disappointment as Cardiff failed to show their play-off credentials in the Potteries.
Jack Butland was rarely tested as Stoke City ran out 2-0 winners, courtesy of an own goal from Callum Paterson and close range effort from Joe Allen.
It lifts Stoke to 19th and leaves Cardiff in 10th, now six points behind the play-off spots – with the additional blow of losing talisman Lee Tomlin for up to two months with a medial ligament injury sustained in training.
Harris said: “We’re hugely disappointed,. From the first whistle to the last, we were nowhere near the standards that we’ve set, individually nor collectively.
“We’ve played against a Stoke City team who are scrapping for their lives, and they gave it a right go today.
“If you can’t win games, you have to make sure that you don’t concede, and you don’t lose them. We gave two poor goals away, which is not good enough. At the other end of the pitch we missed that little bit of a spark. Today we didn’t make good decisions with the ball.
“Losing Lee Tomlin to injury before the game was a blow, but we have to adjust as a group. We’ve scored goals from different avenues since I’ve been here, and we’ll have to continue doing that.
“We have players who can score goals, and this presents an opportunity for them.”