Joey Barton believes his Fleetwood Town side will bounce back stronger from their disappointment at Southend United and are starting to believe in their potential.
Had Town held on for a 3-2 victory at Roots Hall, they would have shared top spot in League One with Coventry City on Saturday night.
Stephen Humphrys’ late equaliser meant Town remained fourth and they slipped to seventh on Tuesday, when they were the only side in the division not in action.
But Town’s head coach is confident they will respond in the right way, starting at home to Rochdale on Saturday, and will ultimately reach their goals.
Barton said: “We should have had three points at Southend but that’s football.
“We have young players in there and it’s part of their learning curve and they will come back stronger.
“We are in it as a team and are devastated not to have won because those are the standards we set ourselves.
“Credit to Southend, they kept going in the face of our attacking prowess and got themselves a goal.
“We can’t begrudge them that – we just have to be better.
“We want to win every game, regardless of whether we’re playing at home or away.
“I think our lads are starting to realise what a good side they are.
“Winning fosters that, and it felt like we had lost in the dressing room at Southend because the manner of the performance was befitting of three points.
“But we have players in there who will learn from that and come back stronger.
“I’m really confident of that and delighted to be involved with this group because over a period of time – whether it’s this season, next season or beyond that – they will get stronger every day.
“And when you have that mindset and culture, then even when you lose you can use that to take you where you need to get.”