Chris Beech insisted he was not a “beaten man” and maintained that Carlisle United’s results will improve if they play as they did against Forest Green.

The head coach also claimed the visiting side “celebrated like they’ve won the league” because of how hard the Blues made them work for victory.

United slid to 19th after the 2-0 defeat at Brunton Park, which was booed by some fans at the final whistle.

It saw concerns deepen about the Blues’ 2021/22 campaign.

But Beech said he saw enough in how his team played against the League Two leaders to keep hope alive.

“You can see that in the performance and the way the players care, how they’ve run,” he said.

“If that wasn’t there, you’d be on thin ice. That was solid in terms of that attitude.

“We lacked a little bit of quality to get the goal but we definitely had Forest Green on the back foot.

“That’s why they celebrated the win almost like they’ve won the league already.

“They’re really going for it in the changing room that’s because they know they’ve been in a game and did ever so well to win one.”

Beech, asked if he felt there was enough in the squad to gain results to turn the views of supporters who are questioning things, he said: “Absolutely. A question like that, unless you talk to a beaten man, is an obvious answer – 100 per cent yes.”

Carlisle started the game brightly but found themselves 2-0 down thanks to quickfire first-half goals from Jamille Matt and Nicky Cadden.

The Cumbrians, who included league debutant Jonathan Dinzeyi and gave Brad Young his first league start, then created little in their bid to fight back against League Two’s leaders.

Beech said of the need for better results: “The boys know how important it is, we know how important it is to our supporters and ourselves, and we know our points tally doesn’t represent total value for our performances, but I also know within those performances, we’ve had two [against Sutton and Hartlepool] that in my opinion have been unacceptable, and some indifference in others.

“We’ve got to find those consistent traits and behaviours. If they play like they did here, and regularly in that fashion, I’m sure it will look after us long term.”

Beech asked for the “big picture” to be taken into account when it came to Carlisle’s current position, whilst also describing their performance as “excellent”.

He added: “The players are talking amongst themselves, and they know where they all are, they know what we need to do to represent our value better, regularly.

“We had a great pre-season, and I know there were anomalies in it with players leaving 12 hours before the season started and 24-36 hours before the window closes.

“That’s difficult as a manager; you’re trying to fix that when you look at the squad and think, ‘I’ve got four defenders left’.

“But we’ve done that and moved on. August was competitive and September wasn’t as we would have all liked. Today the performance was excellent, today it wasn’t good enough to beat a very good team. That’s often on something so small. Today it was them gaining an advantage from one of their corners.

“Again our shot count was quite high.”

On the frustration expressed by fans, Beech added: "It’s that chicken and egg again isn’t it. We know that playing like that will help us win games.

"They’re frustrated today probably not in performance, but in result.

"If you can remove emotion from result...I can’t speak on their behalf but I would imagine quite a few of them would have said the lads gave their all and certain individuals did quite well.

"Obviously everybody wants a little bit more, but ultimately I think they’d share that.

"Of course, when you get beat everybody is angry and like anything in life, when you’re angry sometimes you aren’t at your best.

"I think we’ve got to step back, but we’re all in this together. I can see at the end of the game that the supporters are still fully behind the lads because they’re giving everything.

"Their frustrations are aligned with ours because we want to win. We’ve become very good at not getting beat at home but we were today, so we have to accept that and prepare to play Bristol Rovers next week."