Ross Embleton – the man handed the responsibility of guiding Leyton Orient through the potentially choppy waters of a first season back in the league – believes his side are doing okay.
The interim head coach, in charge following the tragic death of Justin Edinburgh this summer, knows his team has a lot to learn to survive a return to League Two and on Saturday, Swindon Town showed there is still much ground to make up.
But Embleton took heart from the way his side came back into the match late on after a first-half mauling to salvage some pride in a 3-1 defeat at Brisbane Road.
“We’ve been beaten by a better team today," he said. "We’ve been dominated and it hurts. It hurts that for the first time we’ve probably been put to the sword by an opposition.
“I’m not happy. I don’t think any of us are happy, but when we’ve analysed our performances up until today we feel that they have warranted a better start than we’ve had.
“Today is the first day that we’ve been really outclassed or come up against an opposition that you can say: ‘Yeh, we’ve come up into this league and they’re a level above us.’
“It’s been moments, errors within games which have led to us having what looks like a disappointing start in terms of results, but I just hope today doesn’t damage the group too much because of the imbalance in the two teams, if you like, and that we can bounce back to the level of performance we’ve been having of late.
“We haven’t given up a huge amount of chances against us this year. We’ve not been having to defend our box outrageously in any of the games that we’ve played. What we’ve found is that when we do give up chances, we get punished. But certainly, we've seen some progress in the group and progress in individuals.”
Embleton’s side face table-toppers Exeter City away next week, so the learning curve is steep for the Os in the opening weeks of the campaign. But he is confident his players will not dwell on this weekend’s defeat or allow it to give them an inferiority complex.
“Let’s get over that and try not to hang onto the disappointment too much,” the Orient boss said.
“We need to learn from that and analyse our individual performances – I would include myself in that – and at the same time [think about] what we look like as a team. We need to try and find our way of bouncing back.
“The thing I think you can’t question about the group as a whole is they continue to work hard as a team and try to give themselves an opportunity."
And least the Os can savour being back where they belong.
“You look back to last year and what we had to put up with at some of the stadiums," said Embleton, mindful of the bigger picture. "These are the occasions, where there’s 1,400 away fans and the place is rocking, where you should want to be playing.”