Des Hasler agreed Manly "definitely" needed a miracle to make the finals and confirmed they would be without star fullback Tom Trbojevic for at least two more weeks.
After the 30-6 loss to the Storm, Manly’s fifth defeat in a row, Hasler’s side must now win all four remaining games against Wests Tigers, Bulldogs, Titans and Warriors in order to finish on 20 competition points to have any hope of playing finals.
The other side of that equation is that Cronulla, in eighth position on 18 points and with a far superior for and against, would have to lose all four of their remaining games - or three by massive margins - for Manly to go ahead of them.
"We’ve just got to start winning games and we can start by working on some fundamentals and things we can control to give ourselves an opportunity to set up to win again," Hasler said.
Hasler, who confirmed winger Reuben Garrick had suffered grade-three AC joint damage in the loss to Melbourne, said Trbojevic was "a couple of weeks away minimum" from returning from a hamstring injury that has kept him out for 10 weeks.
The Sea Eagles made 11 errors against the Storm and their ruthless opponents made them pay.
Match Highlights: Storm v Sea Eagles
"We came here with a plan and that was about possession. Our execution of skill and our choices around execution with the ball are just not up to standard," he said.
"It was poor again today. You can’t be turning the ball over tackle one three times on the tryline from a scrum. It is just not up to standard and particularly against a side like Melbourne that just strangle you and thrive on controlling possession and field position.
"There is no doubt about the intent and commitment and effort … but it is more than that. There are certain standards that need to be accomplished."
Hasler said debutant centre Albert Hopoate "acquitted himself well” and would learn from what was a baptism of fire against a red-hot Storm left-side attack which sent plenty of traffic his way.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he was proud of the way his side hung in the contest after losing Marion Seve (suspected ACL) and Nelson Asofa-Solomona (calf) to injury.
"At half-time we only had two guys on the bench but it was a really good effort to keep Manly to six points in defence," he said.
"I am pretty proud of them. It looks scrappy at times for us but they are always a tough team to play against and I thought we did a really good job to keep battling away and stick in the game when it could have got too hard to us."