John Askey admits that Saturday’s defeat to play-off chasing Exeter City highlights that Vale still have work to do, but the manager is keen for the players to use it as a tool to improve in the remaining fixtures of the season.
An early penalty from Nicky Law and a second-half screamer from Hiram Boateng meant the Valiants travelled back to Burslem empty handed.
Despite acknowledging that it was always going to be a difficult test, Askey was disappointed with the performance from his team who were unable to replicate the standard shown over the last month or so.
He said: “It was a poor game today. With all the euphoria that’s been going on, it’s brought us back down to earth and hopefully we can learn from it.
“Sometimes you learn more in defeat than what you do when you’re winning, and there’s a lot to take from today. We just weren’t at it.
“I was obviously disappointed with the penalty decision early on because it was a dubious one that knocked us, but you’ve got to respond.
“We didn’t win enough second balls and we didn’t play how we have been playing. Exeter didn’t allow us to press them because every time they got it they lumped it forward.
“It was all about winning those loose balls today and having the guts to get in possession and play, but we didn’t do that.”
With a busy schedule over Easter to look forward to now, the manager has quickly tried to get the squad to remember how well they’ve been performing of late in order to bounce back.
Stevenage travel to Vale Park on Good Friday before the Valiants make the journey to high-flying MK Dons on the Monday, and Askey is keen to ensure the season doesn’t fizzle out with safety still not mathematically confirmed.
He said: “I’ve spoken to the players to tell them they’ve given me and the club everything they’ve got over the last few weeks, working really hard.
“We’re hoping that this result is just a blip. You can’t be too hard on them when they’ve done so well, but there’s a lot to learn from today and it’s up to them to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“From now until the end of the season we’ve got to make sure we don’t let it slide. We need to keep working and players have got to prepare for next season.”