Jim McInally refused to criticise his Peterhead side after a 3-0 defeat to East Fife saw them slip to the bottom of League One.
The visitors conceded all three goals in the second half, losing their fourth game in a row and taking East Fife’s place at the foot of the division.
After a scoreless first half, Darren Young’s side went in front after the interval courtesy of Kevin Smith, with Connor McManus scoring their second from the penalty spot.
Substitute Danny Denholm added a late third to compound Peterhead’s afternoon.
However McInally was encouraged by some of the Blue Toon’s performance and would not be harsh on his players.
He said: “I thought we were still the better side in the second half and had more of the ball.
“I thought we defended poorly for the three goals but the first half is as good football as you’ll see anywhere this season.
“It was going to be hard to maintain that performance, especially when you don’t score. I don’t think you come away from home against a team like East Fife and dictate a game for 90 minutes. I don’t see how that’s possible.
“It wasn’t worse than the last two games. I can’t get too down about that. If you look at the age of the team that started, I’m not going to be too hard on them.
“They had to change their tactics at half-time to cope with how we’re playing. We’ve come away from home and dominated against a good team.”
Peterhead’s only win so far this season came on the opening day of the season against Alloa Athletic.
McInally does not think he needs to do much to lift the players’ confidence, with the same opposition next up at Balmoor in the SPFL Trust Trophy.
He added: “I don’t think I need to lift the players. I think they needed lifting more after last week.
“At half-time I could have given them a round of applause because that was good football. But goals change games and they had a guys that were tired, who get a wee extra yard (after going in front).
“We are where everybody thought we would be. But we’ll change that because we’re good enough. There’s quality enough in there, in my opinion.”
The Blue Toon hit the woodwork three times in the first half. Niah Payne saw his shot turned on to the post by Scott Gallacher, while Hamish Ritchie and Andy McDonald both saw crosses come back off the bar.
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The deadlock was broken inside three minutes of the second period, with Jamie Semple’s cross picking out Smith at the back post to crash into an unguarded net.
The second game on 68 minutes after a clumsy challenge by Jason Brown on Semple, with referee Graham Grainger pointing to the spot. McManus rolled home the spot-kick.
Denholm rounded off the scoring with six minutes to go after positive work by Andrew Osei-Bonsu squared the ball to him in front of goal.
“It’s not little lapses – it’s big lapses in concentration,” added McInally. “There’s not a lot we can do to change it. We just need to encourage them to do better.
“Josh Mulligan cruises through the game wherever he plays. I said that to Jason, that he needs to have that temperament. It’s a stone-wall penalty, he doesn’t need to make the challenge.”