Mansfield Town striker Danny Rose says Tuesday's 4-0 loss to Cambridge United was a tough one to take, but wants Stags to take the positives from the encounter.
An impressive first-half generated huge optimism that three points were on the cards at half-time, only for a red card for Matt Preston early in the second-half signal a collapse that ultimately saw Stags well beaten.
And Rose feels the result wasn't one the players or fans deserved.
He said: "It was a tough one to take and I don't think we really deserved that on Tuesday, especially after the first-half performance where we played some of the best stuff we've played all season.
"If we do that for 90 minutes we can beat anyone in this league. I thought there was only one team going to go on and win it and if you’d told anyone in the stadium that it would end up 4-0 to Cambridge, nobody would have believed you.
“The red card didn’t help and left us a mountain to climb and Matt [Preston] has come in and apologised to us after the game, but it was a massive factor as we sat back a bit after that as teams do and we’ve tried nicking a goal off a set piece or something like that but unfortunately it’s not happened, so we need to learn from our mistakes now and keep 11 players on the pitch as much as we can."
Stags now prepare to head to Port Vale on Saturday with Rose knowing that what happens in both boxes will be crucial to the outcome.
He said: "We need to be a bit more ruthless in both boxes, defending for our lives and then taking chances.
“It’s been tough and I think inconsistent would be the word from our first nine games. We’ve had a couple of good performances but we need to keep doing what we did against Cambridge but for 90 minutes, as if we do that we’ll win games."
On his own form, Rose feels happy with how things have gone so far, netting six goals and already passing his total from last season.
He said: "I feel good. I had a good pre-season and feel like I’m doing well but the most important thing is to get Mansfield Town points on the board. We’re in a position now where we are playing catch up but it’s a strange league because if you can pick yourself up back-to-back wins then you can climb up the table and suddenly be back in with a play-off shout.
“I put my own form down to the gaffer. He’s given me the freedom to play and I feel fit and fresh after a good pre-season and I’m just looking for more of the same.
“I’m disappointed with the chance at Crawley where I didn’t score but I’m hoping to be that bit more clinical now when the next chance comes.
“I’m just hoping to kick on now and get into double figures and see where that takes me. I feel I’ve been more clinical this season than last when I didn’t really get the goals that I should have, which was disappointing, but we just have to forget about that now and kick on towards this season.”
“I’m still playing with confidence as goals breed that for any striker."
Rose also wants to see the club's fans continue to back them in numbers, despite the inconsistent form, starting in Stoke this weekend.
He added: "We urge the fans to stick with us and come in their numbers like they have been doing. Support us as much as you can and stick together.
“I think it’s close to being right for us now. We owe Vale one after they beat us there last season but we beat them 4-0 there a couple of years ago in what was a very dominant performance and we’ll hope for more of the same this weekend.
“I think the lads have been playing with a bit more freedom away from home. We haven’t been good enough in front of our own fans, we know that, so we need to work on that ahead of the Plymouth game, but for now we look to Port Vale and hopefully the fans can get to the game in numbers and get behind us."