Manager Steven Pressley says Carlisle United’s defeat to Swindon highlighted how much work lays ahead for his side.

The Blues boss admitted his team got what they deserved in Saturday’s 3-2 loss.

Pressley blamed poor passing and an inability to control the game for the way Swindon got on top for most of the afternoon.

And the manager said: “We’ve got a lot of improvement to come. No doubt about that. It’s a good reminder there’s so much work ahead of us.”

Pressley admitted the tone was set in a first half United spent mostly on the back foot.

Then, after taking the lead through Olufela Olomola, they were overturned by three Swindon goals through ex-United man Jerry Yates, Zeki Fryers and Kaiyne Woolery before debutant sub Mo Sagaf’s late consolation.

Canice Carroll’s red card further tarnished Carlisle’s afternoon.

Pressley said: “We didn’t pass the ball well enough, we continued to turn the ball over and made wrong decisions.

“When you do that you’re never getting control of the game. I never felt at any time we had control of the game.”

Pressley said his decision to withdraw Harry McKirdy and Olomola – creator and scorer of United’s opener – and send on Carroll and Ryan Loft was with this in mind.

“I felt we needed to get that [control] in the middle of the pitch, and also the connection from up top. That was the reason for my substitutions,” he said.

Pressley said players had not delivered their “personal responsibilities” in Swindon’s decisive second goal, when Fryers headed a corner home.

“But we’re a team and we’ll work on it again and hopefully find the answers to that,” he added.

Pressley said Carlisle did not isolate the likes of McKirdy and Nathan Thomas against their men often enough.

He added: “We kept turning it over, and the turnover is one of [Swindon's] biggest threats.

“We continuously lost possession in the middle third. Because of that we didn’t get our attacking wide players enough of the ball in the areas we wanted to get them. When they did they were devastating.

“No complaints at the result, just that we didn’t play the way we know we can.”

United’s defeat saw defender Jon Mellish suffering with cramp in the second half, and the manager said: “He’s still got to adapt, no doubt about that, but we’ve got real hopes for him, and I think he’s acquitted himself reasonably well.”

He was pleased with Sagaf’s impact on his United bow as a second-half sub. “I think he’s a good player, an exciting player, and I think he can bring something different to the team,” he said of the Somalia-born player.

“He’s a strong lad, can handle the ball and it’s very pleasing for him to get his debut goal.” The manager also said United had paid a "very small fee" to secure Sagaf's signing from Braintree.

Pressley expects Hallam Hope to be back in training tomorrow, while he is also hoping for an answer on his main striker loan target after being kept waiting over the weekend.

He said: “It’s still a little bit cloudy at this moment in time, it’s still in [the other club’s] hands.

“I thought it would be Friday but we spoke to them again and they said we’ll give you a definite answer on Monday. Then we’ll take it from there.”

Josh Galloway and Taylor Charters scored in United’s 2-2 youth draw with Oldham.