A hurt Graham Drury has told his Boston United players they can restore their battered pride with a positive result at arch-rivals Gainsborough Trinity on Saturday.
Drury endured the most painful night of his tenure so far when the Pilgrims were smashed 7-1 at Altrincham on Tuesday.
The United boss accused his players of delivering an embarrassing performance and letting the club down at Moss Lane, where they lost 6-1 last season under Jason Lee.
Drury praised his players for fronting up following the defeat, but says talk is cheap.
"I asked the players 'what do you want me to say to the press after that?'," said the former Corby boss.
"If I came out and criticised them, I'd get accused of slating them in public.
"If I came out and defended them after a 7-1 defeat, people would think I'm crazy.
"They agreed it was embarrassing and that they had let the club and the fans down.
"I even had players ringing me up on Wednesday morning saying they'd let me down.
"I appreciate that, but talk is cheap, it's about what they do on the pitch that counts.
"But if we go to Gainsborough on Saturday and win or get a positive result, the Altrincham result will be forgotten, it will be last week's chip paper.
"Few people will be expecting us to get a result. We've got to go out there and enjoy our football and prove they want to be at Boston United.
"I didn't see any evidence of that on Tuesday night."
The bullish boss says he won't back down from the challenge of turning Boston's fortunes around and insists the job is every bit as tough as he thought before he left Stamford last month.
"The job is what I expected it to be, although I didn't expect to lose 7-1," he said.
"Apart from the the Droylsden game (when Boston won 5-1 under caretaker boss Graham Hyde), the same failings have been apparent.
"If we score first in a game we're fine, everyone wants the ball and we play with confidence.
"But if the other team scores first we struggle and no one wants to the ball.
"That's down to mental weakness and it's something I've got to address."
Drury says a string of new signings is no excuse and wants to be judged on this season's performances, despite only taking over last month.
"I'm not going to use any excuses," he declared.
"I don't want to be judged next season, Graham Drury wants to achieve something for the fans this season."
His latest signing, defender Kieran Walker, is set to be involved on Saturday following his switch from Rainworth Miners Welfare.