Graham Barrow felt his Wigan Athletic side ‘delivered up to a point’ on their first run-out under his interim management against Aston Villa.
But after seeing Latics fall to a damaging 2-0 defeat at the DW Stadium, he acknowledged the need to ‘deliver a little bit more’ in the remaining eight matches that will decide their fate.
Goals inside the final quarter from James Chester and Scott Hogan mean Latics are now seven points adrift of Championship safety heading into the international break.
But Barrow thought there were plenty of positives to be gleaned from his first outing since succeeding Warren Joyce earlier in the week.
“I thought the crowd were fantastic, everyone was behind us,” Barrow recognised.
“There was nobody who was down, nobody got on to the back of the players.
“And I thought the players delivered up to a point - but they have to deliver a little bit more than that.
“The last few days have been a bit hectic, and I work up this morning with all sorts of things going through my head.
“But there was a satisfaction about the game for so long.
“Then it was the old sucker punch, and we only have ourselves to blame - for the first goal especially.
“Why we switched off so much, I don’t know.
“But I was encouraged by the fact we did work their goalkeeper, probably more than we’ve worked any goalkeeper.
“There was a lot to be encouraged by across the board.
“I’ve asked a lot from the players this week and they’ve almost produced - but not quite enough.”
Latics paid a high price for going gung ho in search of an equaliser, with the tactic of sending big Dan Burn to centre-forward for the last 10 minutes not paying dividends.
“I blame myself for the second goal, I can’t blame the team,” Barrow conceded.
“I put Dan Burn up front, it was a goal we wouldn’t have conceded if he’d have been at the back.
“But I think if we do go down, it won’t be on goal difference, and we had to try and score an equaliser.
“To be quite honest, when Dan went up front, he set an example.”
Had striker Omar Bogle found the back of the net instead of the side-netting inside the opening 15 minutes - after seizing on an under-hit backpass from Mile Jedinak - it could have been so different.
“I think it could have been (different), especially with the players we had on the bench,” acknowledged Barrow.
“We would have had the organisation there, not necessarily to see the game through, but to deal with what they had to throw at us.
“I think their bench was the most frightening thing to be honest, when the teams came through.
“But that’s another story, isn’t it?”
With skipper Stephen Warnock ruled out with a lacerated knee, Barrow chose to go with a back five - with Andy Kellett and Jamie Hanson as wing-backs - and he was satisfied with the results.
“I was pleased with the shape overall,” the Latics boss added.
“We did some back four work in training without Stephen Warnock, and it just didn’t look right at all.
“I thought it left us too weak physically to deal with a team like Villa to be honest.
We’ve obviously played a back five before, last year with Gary (Caldwell), and we started to work on that quite early.
“I was quite pleased with what we did on the training ground, with Andy Kellett in there.
“And the disappointing thing about him going off is I was about to move him up the pitch, like we did on occasion last year.
“I thought we made it a good game with the players they’ve got, and we did create some chances.
“We should have been a goal up...but we weren’t.”