Craig Hignett described Hartlepool United's late defeat at Luton Town as "harsh".
Pools looked set for a point until Luton sub Craig Mickail-Smith lifted the ball over Trevor Carson and into the away net four minutes from time.
Luton had taken the lead on the hour when Cameron McGeehan converted from the spot after Nicky Featherstone was penalised for handball after a Danny Green free-kick struck the Pools wall.
Pools fought back with Adam Jackson heading in a Jake Gray corner for his second goal of the season, only for Mackail-Smith to snatch a late winner.
“It was harsh on us," said Hignett who was pleased with his side's display,
"I can see the improvement in the lads. We have done a lot of team shape, playing without the ball and you could see it today.
“"We looked organised and solid which was pleasing.
“The shape of the team was excellent and we worked for each other and we stifled them. They ran out of ideas, second-half especially.
“We were solid and had a good shape to us and I’ve said to the lads that I can’t have a go at them after that.
“We will win more than we lose, we just need that little run of wins. It’ tough next week with Northampton, but effort, organisation and it’s all there.
“First-half we created chances and should have went in with a goal. Second-half and the lads said they didn’t ever feel under any pressure, we were on top.''
Elsewhere, basement club Dagenham & Redbridge, York City and Stevenage all lost while Yeovil drew 1-1 with Portsmouth leaving Pools two points above the bottom two.