A lot of the ones we got had more than one "plant" growing together in one package.
I carefully rinsed the roots off in a bucket of water, pulled away any black, dead root material, and separated them into individual "plants". Keeping them in the bucket of water while separating the roots made it a lot easier to gently pull them apart.
Then I carefully poked the plant into the net pot however many times it took to get at least the "main" root through the bottom of the pot... about like threading a sewing needle.
I tugged the root down to pull the plant down into the pot where it wanted it, then added hydroton around the root mass to hold it in place.
The first ones I did like you describe... all died. (Not necessarily because of that.)