Richard Money does not believe Hartlepool United have taken a step backwards despite his side's home loss to Maidstone United.
The manager admitted the 2-1 Super 6 Stadium reverse to a side sitting 23rd in the National League was "chastening" experience.
But he does not think his side were as bad as many believe - and despite the negative reaction of fans, the 63-year-old manager has urged the paying public for patience as he tries to rebuild Pools' downward curve.
"It was a frustrating afternoon, a disappointing one because of the scoreline," he said.
"Sometimes when you are trying to build something very rarely does he curve go continually upwards.
"That was a chastening afternoon in the end. There’s been some really good signs in the last few games.
"This wasn’t a step backwards, but the more we open up the more vulnerable we look. They came and did a job, nine behind the ball and say break us down."
Money is an experienced head and knows exactly what kind of performances it can take to succeed at this level.
Playing successful football in the fifth tier is one thing, but that can be very difficult, he says, when you do not have the personnel to suit that approach.
"There’s two ways out of this league – I go and get nine 6ft 5in players and bash the ball forwards. But this team is not built for that.
"We have to play in the way to try and work the ball. Times we play too short, into the press, making mistakes trying to do it.
"As manager you have to analyse all of that to how you can be better going forward."
While the manager has hinted that he needs to add some size and stature to his side in the January window and beyond, he is keen not to turn into a long ball team. He sees Hartlepool as a club which deserves better than that.
But whatever style Pools adopt, Money says his players have to be more alert to opposition counter attacks.
"If we play long ball and ugly, I don’t think that is the way forwards for a club of this stature and size," he said.
"We play over the top, next ball, throw it up there – or try and work it through. We have to, while doing that, be stable at the back. For me that is the number one thing about how we go about it.
"We don’t think danger when we have the ball and we have to be at our best defensive. We are camped in their half, not deal with a break and are one-down.
“"hen we level, get on top without creating a lot but get caught on the counter attack.
"Second half is a different game, different mindset as we are tailing. Crowd get more agitate, more frustrated, more antagonistic and life becomes more difficult.
"It’s not a step back, especially after winning on New Year’s Day, and we want to go again."