Although upset with the attitude of his side in the 3-1 home defeat by relegated Torquay United, Paul Cox said that at least the shining debut of youth team product Liam Marsden had cheered him.
The 19-year-old was named man of the match by the sponsors and Cox said: “The one bright spot was the debut of Liam Marsden, who was excellent.
“I thought he was hung out to dry out there as he needed a bit of mindset around him on his debut and I feel for the kid.
“He deserved man of the match as he was outstanding to say how the game panned out.
“He gave a lot of heart which was something we were lacking today.”
However, Cox was angry with what he felt was his side’s ‘end of season’ attitude to the two home games this week and snapped: “With where we have come from since Christmas time, the last two performances are unacceptable and I was very disappointed with our attitude today to say the least.
“But everything happens for a reason and I am a bit philosophical about the last two games.
“To think we were closing in on the play-offs two games back seems laughable now.
“Part of me is glad the last two games have materialised how they have as it is as plain as the nose on your face what needs doing here.
“These two results were all about mindset and attitude and now how good they are as players.
“I get the feeling some of them are ready for the beach and holidays. Well they might be staying there for a while.
“But, despite the two defeats, thinking with my head, I have to say we have had a very good season. If anyone had said we’d finish mid-table in our first season back in the league we’d have bitten their hand off.
“Now I have some big decisions to make, some of which will hurt me, but that is what I am paid to do. I don’t want to stand still.”
Despite the win, Torquay went down due to wins elsewhere for Northampton and Bristol Rovers and Cox said: “It is heartbreaking for Torquay to go down as I thought they were excellent today.
“My heart goes out to them. They fully deserved their applause from our fans at the end and I am glad our supporters clapped them. Torquay showed desire and hunger.
“Our fans were brilliant again – they were different gravy after Monday’s game and then today when they had every reason to be disappointed with us.”
Gulls boss Chris Hargreaves said: “I am proud of my players today. We could have won that game 10-1. It was a fluid performance of attacking football.
“Perhaps things have started to click with my players, it is just a little late. Results were always going to be a problem for us because they were out of our hands.
“I knew things were going to be tough when I came here but I did not see this happening. It is a devastating blow for me, my family and the fans.
“I would like to thank my players for their efforts and the fans for being here today, they were excellent.
“I am confident we can challenge in the Conference and I want to be the man to lead the team in the Conference.
“I can assure the fans that we will be working very hard to get ourselves back up. I don’t expect too many changes to players. Above all I want players here who care about Torquay and want to play for the club.”