Carlisle United boss Steven Pressley says he is convinced results will soon turn – and also expressed his confidence in his defenders.

United went out of the Carabao Cup after a 2-1 defeat at Rochdale, making it four without victory in all competitions.

Carlisle conceded twice in the first half for the fourth straight game before mounting a spirited second-half fightback.

Pressley admitted they have to “eradicate” the errors that are costing them goals.

But he added: “That aside, if you look at the performance it was an amazing performance.

“I don’t like hard-luck stories but we were at a League One club, against a good team and gave an amazing account of ourselves. To a man I could not have asked for any more effort.”

Aaron Morley opened the scoring for Dale before a Byron Webster header fell to Matt Done who made it 2-0.

Jack Bridge’s penalty later cut the deficit and United had chances to level the tie, also being denied what Pressley called a “stonewall” second penalty for handball.

United’s boss said he wanted to focus on the “positives” of their display but admitted they must shore up at the back.

“I’ve said we need to eradicate the moments – until we do that we’ll not win the games we are thoroughly deserving of winning,” he said.

“The first half we played really well. It was their only two moments in the first half [that led to the goals]. This is the frustration.

“It’s difficult for me to do anything to change that. That’ll come from the team. There’s not a doubt that will come from the team. It will change. Sometimes football’s a very cruel game. If you see what you’re seeing from us now, you’ll know we’re very close.”

Asked if it was time to consider changes at the back given United’s defensive record, Pressley said: “No – I have absolute belief in our players.

“The one thing I’ll say is I’ve been there before as a defender and you need to play through these periods. There’ll be periods when our defenders bail out our strikers. This is football. We’re going through a periods just now where we need our strikers to bail out the defenders, but that will change.

“I can honestly say this, I’ve got the utmost confidence in our defenders.”

Pressley said that, in other respects, United’s display had given him lots of encouragement.

“I’m really frustrated because for my players [that we lost] because they couldn’t give any more than that. That was, in terms of work ethic, as hard-working a team as you will see.

“It was an amazing, amazing performance from them and I’m proud of them. I said in the dressing room that I hate losing but there’s always a way to lose, and that was a way to lose.

“If your team works like the team did [last night], and the football being played, we’re gonna be a good team, we’ve got a real chance and we’ll get there.

“We played the last 20 minutes with 10 men. Let’s not forget that. We ran them into the ground with 10 men – an amazing effort from the group. There were so many things against us but we didn’t feel sorry for ourselves.

“You saw the reception they got off our supporters. I have never been more convinced about the way we’re playing than [last night].”

United indeed ended a man short because, having already made three substitutions, Stefan Scougall was unable to finish the game.

Both he and fellow midfielder Mike Jones went off injured with what appeared hamstring problems.

It leaves Pressley sweating on their fitness ahead of Saturday’s trip to Scunthorpe.

He said: “It’s very early – I hope it’s just fatigue. Both players didn’t think it was a pull, it was more fatigue. I can only pray that it is because they’re such influential players."

Sub Harry McKirdy and centre-half Webster also needed treatment in the second half.

Pressley added: “In terms of how hard the players have worked, we’re gonna have to be very careful between now and Saturday. We’ll find out in the next 24-48 hours about injuries but it’s a case of wrapping them in cotton wool.”