Darrell Clarke vowed to turn Cheltenham’s fortunes around after their 2-0 defeat by Fleetwood saw them equal the EFL record with 11 scoreless games in succession.
Goals from Junior Quitirna and Jack Marriott secured a second win in a row for Fleetwood, with Curtis Davies’ red card in the 70th minute adding to the bottom-placed Robins’ misery.
Clarke, who was on the touchline for the first time since being unveiled as their new boss on Friday, admitted there will be no quick fix.
“The fans made their feelings known after the game and you can’t keep beating the players with a stick,” Clarke said.
“I don’t think it was a lack of effort, to be honest. It’s just a real lack of quality through the team, wrong decision making and players looking like little boys in a really tough league.
“That’s the reality of it and same as I said to my players in there, they are going to get all my support to try and turn them into men and into footballers because for a lot of them this is going to be a really harsh lesson.
“I am old enough and ugly enough to understand where we are at, but I will get it right, I know I will.
“There will be a lot sleepless nights ahead, a lot of hard work, but that’s what I am here for and owe it to our fans to make sure we can get a team out there they are going to be proud of.”
Quitirna curled a free-kick inside the bottom corner from 20 yards in the 19th minute to set Lee Johnson’s side on their way to a second successive victory.
Cheltenham were close to ending their drought in the fifth minute when Jovan Malcolm’s shot from 12 yards hit the post and Sean Long’s follow-up attempt flashed wide.
Davies saw a header gathered on the line by Jay Lynch 10 minutes into the second half.
But the veteran defender was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Ryan Broom in the 70th minute.
Jayden Stockley’s effort rebounded off the bar and Marriott reached quickest to tap in from close range and seal the win.
Fleetwood’s assistant manager Darren Way said: “I think from start to finish we were well organised.
“The lads implemented what the gaffer wanted. It’s been very rewarding for everyone involved and I felt we could’ve scored more.
“The gaffer is implementing a new style and philosophy and the great thing is that the players are willing to learn. He wants a team playing on the front foot.
“We’re a work in progress, but everyone can see what we’re trying to do. Every staff member is driving standards every day.”