Lee Bell says even if Crewe had managed a ‘smash-and-grab’ at Stevenage, he wouldn’t have been satisfied with the evening's work.
The Railwaymen slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Lamax Stadium, their first reverse in eight outings, as the hosts bossed general play.
Bell’s men held out until the 79th minute before Jamie Reid scored the only goal of the game, and they had chances to nick one at the other end on the counter.
But the Manager says he is looking for progression in performance, and feels he didn’t see enough evidence of that.
Bell said: “Nearly isn’t really good enough. When we had the odd chance to make something at the other end, we didn’t make good decisions – but a smash-and-grab wouldn’t have been good enough for me anyway.
“We have to handle the ball better. The belief and the courage we needed on the ball just wasn’t there when they were getting after us.
“What I’m most disappointed about is how we played. If we want to build the style of play that we are after, we have to cope better with the press. Because if we keep lumping balls at the other team's centre halves, it will always be a long night - like it was.
“The message at half time was to show more composure on the ball, there was no point in smashing balls at their centre-halves because they thrive on that. That’s what they want, and I was disappointed we couldn’t do better.”
Bell had plenty of praise for how Crewe defended, with Stevenage winning 16 corners and loading crosses into the penalty area at every opportunity.
But he was dismayed at the manner of the goal that was conceded – a strike from outside the area that found the bottom corner.
Bell added: “Despite everything they threw at us, it was a highly-avoidable goal from outside the box that we conceded.
“We dealt with all the balls raining into our box brilliantly, winning virtually every first contact, so I’m really disappointed in the goal. I’ll have to go through that with the individuals involved."