Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler believes his young side will only improve and grow as the season progresses – just like last season.
Town’s top-four finish in 2016/17 was fuelled by an 18-game unbeaten run from November to March.
They are currently a point better off than at the same stage last term, with 13 and a game in hand on every other club bar Blackburn.
Town started the campaign with three straight wins and clean sheets but prepare to host Southend this weekend after conceding 11 in their last four games.
A trait last term was Town’s ability to bounce back and they have shown that again this season, responding to their first defeat at Bristol Rovers with a draw against Oldham and a win over Bury.
And after losing 4-1 at Portsmouth at the weekend, Rosler (above) backed his players to come back stronger. He said: “We will be better, I think. We have more points than last year at the same time and we still have a game in hand.
“Last season we got better and better the longer the season went on and that will happen this season as well.
“I think the players need to be honest with each other. They need to watch the Portsmouth game and learn from it like we all need to, including myself.
“We have to be unified through those moments and the real character of the team will be shown next week.
“You can’t give the players experience on the training field – experience comes with making 50, 100, 200 games. Then you do not concede goals like we have and it does not affect you like it affected us on Saturday.
“But we have talented players with a good character and they will bounce back. There were periods on Saturday when we played really well.”
And Rosler wants his players to put in the graft on the training pitch this week.
He said: “I hoped we would have shown a little bit more steel and mental toughness on Saturday because we have shown it in the past.
“I know that can happen with our dynamics in the group but the main thing is we need to learn from it.
“The main thing now is that the players are being honest with themselves and working on the training ground well and make sure they are keeping their confidence levels.
“Because on Saturday there were periods were we played really well.”