We caught up with United boss Chris Beech shortly after full time on Tuesday night to get his thoughts on what became a frustrating evening.
“You’ve got to credit your opponent, they’re a good team with some great experienced players, but we’ve just got to concentrate on what we can concentrate on,” he said. “We have to avoid those mistakes, it’s gut wrenching, when you work so hard and make pivotal mistakes it costs you, and it did, no matter how much effort we had.
“We had a good start and in the second half we pretty much camped in their half. Their best chances were actually off our corners. We didn’t get enough first contact on turnovers, they’ve got quick players who broke well, and that was their strength.
“As with Saturday, Salford’s goal was similar to the goals we’ve conceded tonight, bar the mistake for the second. You’re just getting your pockets picked at the moment in terms of trying to be offensive and play.
“Sometimes it doesn’t roll for you, we haven’t got that quite right yet, we need to control it better, but I’m pleased with everything else.”
A real positive was the way the team responded to having been pegged back twice, without quite managing to take it that one step further.
“We JJ’s header, Joe Riley’s volley, Jon Mellish pulling the ball back, lads looking energised and good, winning headers, tackles, passing forward, running forward,” he commented. “Then there was Nick’s thunderbolt of a strike, great goals, JJ’s goal, great finish, great cross.
“A lot of very good things went on in that 95 minutes. You can’t lose sight of that. The four-leaf clover was certainly in a Tranmere shirt tonight and it helped them get what they wanted.
“That was proven with their second goal. Very weird, it happens every now and then. I’ve not seen one of them this season, that’s the first one. It happens to come against a very good opponent, it’s just the way it is sometimes.
“We camped in their half after the break and when it finally dropped for us they cleared it off the line, they got something on it, they had some good defending at that near post.
“They were definitely put on the back foot and will be pleased as punch because they’ve ended up getting something. We’ve all been in changing rooms listening to an opposition manager’s chat, so they’ll believe they deserve it, but I’m not too sure.”
Looking at the goals conceded, he said: “You just have to concentrate. It’s concentration, fitness, dealing with the anxieties, different things like that all come into play.
“You’ve got to remember, this team’s very young, and you have to make sure they learn from these experiences and try and gain something from the last 20 games.”
With the aim of gaining something on the night, four changes were made during the game as the Blues looked to make the edge they had out on the field count.
“You try to make the subs work, or you can just wait and not do anything,” he explained. “You’re damned if you do or damned if you don’t, that’s my job, but all the players support what we’re trying to achieve.
“There’s some disgruntled players not playing, there were good performances tonight from a lot of the boys, but we didn’t get what we wanted. We’ll prepare for our opponent Saturday, see who’s fit and not fit from tonight, and get ready for that.
“I thought Gime Toure played well. He was an attacking threat and I was really pleased with his defensive attributes. I thought he was very good.
“Cedwyn Scott was on the bench and he’s training well. With it being a home game I wanted an extra attacking player just in case. What will be will be in terms of what opportunities come his way.
“I subbed Aaron because he presented a chance to Woolery and he was taking his foot off the gas a little bit. He’s fully fit. Ideally I don’t want to put a centre half on, but it just felt a bit edgy. We’ve spoken after the game about my feelings but that will stay between me and my centre halves.
“Hindsight is always a great thing in football. If we don’t make the mistake just before half time we’re in control, but it’s ifs, buts and maybes. If you change too much you can change for the sake of it.
“You’re always critiqued when you don’t get what you want but we just need to take stock a little bit and take a step back. We’ve still got 20 opportunities and the lads looked more like themselves tonight, and I can’t wait for our next game.”
On what he said to the lads after the game, with them having given their all, he told us: “I’ve told them to step up and take it on the chin.
“You can run away from it, you can hide from things. I’m in a great position to put a thousand excuses in front of you but, I’m not going to do that. We haven’t got what we wanted so we’ve got to make sure we win the next one.
“It does feel like we’ve had our pocket picked. But I’ve not had a game this season where we’ve got points we didn’t deserve. We have to earn our points. Tonight we definitely didn’t deserve to get beat.
“But we know we’ve got to have more control to all the energised efforts that we have. We have to continue doing it right from now until the end of the season. There are 20 games left and we’ve got focus on each one.
“You can only ever win and compete in your next one. There’s no question that the players looked stronger on Saturday and tonight, that looked more like us than the other games we’ve played since early January, there’s no question.
“But I won’t talk about it because all I’ll do is get criticised for looking for a comfort blanket. I don’t want one, I want the next game, I wish we were playing now to be honest.”
Click HERE to watch an interview with Chris Beech on iFollow United now.
Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.