Fleetwood Town head coach Joey Barton wants his men to learn and bring more creativity going forward as they failed to fire in his first League One game.
The Town boss watched on as Joe Pigott’s 60th minute effort saw Fleetwood fall to an opening day defeat against AFC Wimbledon at Highbury.
It was Barton’s first taste of defeat as a manager, having won all seven games in pre-season.
Though he was disappointed, the Town boss is relishing getting back on the training pitch and learning from the defeat as they bid to put it right at Oxford United next weekend.
The main source of that disappointment was not taking their pre-season creativity into the league with Bobby Grant going closest as his thunderous late effort clattered the post.
“We are obviously disappointed,” Barton said.
“We spoke before the game that if we were to win or lose the game it was important that we kept a clear vision that it is a 46-game season.
“I spoke to the guys in there. Obviously the players know for a fact that they can play at a much higher level.
“But I cannot fault them at all for endeavour.
“We kept going right to the end; football is a game sometimes where you need the rub of the green or whatever it is.
“Bobby hits the inside of the post and it somehow manages to stay out.
“The disappointing thing for me is that we can definitely create more, we know that.
“We have shown that in pre-season and we get back on the training ground, the motto is: ‘you win or you learn.’
“We have got loads of learning to do and we will be stronger on Monday and stronger by the end of the week when we go to Oxford.
“We will pick ourselves up and go again.
“The lads’ application was first class; we kept going right until the end, nobody chucked the towel in and sometimes you have to give credit to Wimbledon – they defended really well.
“They get the fortune they need, Lewie Coyle gets out, blocks a cross and it loops over our four biggest defenders and falls right to one of their players and there is nothing anybody can do about that.”
Barton was not too happy about the refereeing in the build up to the goal.
However, he was philosophical about Mark Heywood and his assistant’s failure to award an offside decision.
He said: “I felt the two strikers for Wimbledon were offside before the free-kick was given.
“I’ve seen the replay back and they were off by about three or four yards.
“The referee and linesman for me just need to see that.
“I’m not crying about it but it is a game of fine margins, the first goal in football is key.
“They got it and our response was very good.
“We took the game to them, credit to Neal (Ardley, AFC Wimbledon boss) and his lads; they defended the goal like their lives depended on it.
“We will lick our wounds and go again.
“We are disappointed but we are ready to rock and roll, we will dust ourselves down, review the footage and go again.
“We can definitely be better, we know that.
“I don’t know whether the occasion just got to one or two of the boys, whether they were nervous and did not show what they have taken on over the last seven weeks, but that is the system now.
“We want to make Highbury a fortress; a little negative is that we have lost the opening game on our home patch.
“There are 45 games to go in the season – we would not have got too far ahead of ourselves if we had won 1-0 or lost 1-0.”