Csaba Laszlo was left bitterly disappointed with Tuesday night’s Betfred Cup defeat at Ross County that leaves Dundee United’s chances of progressing from their group hanging by a thread.
The Tangerines gaffer, though, was able to take plenty of positives from a battling performance from his new-look side.
United missed a gilt-edged opportunity to go ahead late on at the Global Energy Stadium when Nicky Clark saw an 80th-minute penalty save by home goalie Scott Fox.
The striker was then denied by a miraculous stop as he moved to slot the rebound home.
Csaba was in no doubt had either effort ended up in the net, United would have gone on to clinch a deserved victory.
Instead, a Jamie Lindsay header five minutes from the end led to defeat and just one point from their two ties so far.
And it means even wins in the remaining clashes with Alloa and Elgin are unlikely to be enough to secure a path to the last 16.
That’s left Csaba a frustrated man.
“It was not a happy end for us and I am angry because definitely we had the big chance to win the game,” he said.
“Even after the penalty was saved, the shot after was easier to push in. We missed this, too, but generally we made steps forward.”
And it was those steps that increased his belief his team are heading in a direction that can lead to league success.
“In the last game I saw the team was a little bit tired but this time we had more freshness,” he added.
“Really, I have to tell you I must make a compliment for the team. The team looks really like a football team.
“Especially in the second half we controlled the game and didn’t have much danger in front of our goal.
“We had the game in our hand and we had to score the penalty. Even after the penalty we had a very promising free-kick and from the counter-attack we lost the goal.
“In that case we had to be more concentrated.”
And despite having just one point, he has refused to give up hope.
“Even though we are in pre-season the cup is very important to us and I want to move out from the group.
“It will be difficult, we have to win both remaining games and then see what position we’re in.”