Sol Campbell was encouraged by his Macclesfield side’s performance despite a 1-0 defeat at Colchester in his first league game in charge.
The former England defender was in the dugout for the first time in Sky Bet League Two but saw his new team beaten by Mikael Mandron’s first-half strike.
The Silkmen, who had won their past two league games, remain rooted to the bottom of the table but they pushed their hosts all the way in the second half.
Campbell said: “The lads played well – they worked hard.
“Colchester are riding high in the league and for us, we just needed a little bit of luck in front of goal.
“We had a couple of really good chances.
“We contained them to long-distance shots and I thought the goal was conceded from not doing enough tracking back.
“But other than that, you can see that it was a hard game for Colchester and that’s what we have to do now, between now and the end of the season.
“We have to make it difficult for teams and then get our chances and then hopefully get a little bit of luck in front of goal.
“The effort was there and the lads really worked their socks off.
“That really gave me that heart to say as long as you’re working to get in the right positions and give the front line opportunities, that’s good.
“That’s what we have to do and work hard on and off the ball.”
Colchester head coach John McGreal felt Campbell had already had an impact on his players.
“You have to give Macclesfield credit because they’re fighting for their lives,” he said.
“I know he’s only been there a short time but Sol has definitely got something going there.
“You can see the qualities that they’ve got and why they’d won their previous two games in the league.”
Mandron scored the winner in the 29th minute, driving in a low left-footed shot past goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara after being picked out by Ryan Jackson on the edge of the box.
The victory extended the promotion-chasing U’s unbeaten league run to three games.
McGreal added: “It was really pleasing.
“I thought we were excellent in the first half and could have been a couple of goals to the good.
“We didn’t have that after scoring a good goal and we just came off it a little bit, especially midway through the second half when we gave them a lot of territory.
“It got a bit tight but I just thought we were deserved winners, just because of the first-half performance.
“There’s a lot of big boys behind us who keep winning as well and I think seven out of the (top) eight have won (on Saturday).
“A lot of teams in that position want to stay there and we’re one of them.
“We’re doing the best we can at the minute with the clean sheets, the goals and the performances and I’m proud of the boys.
“That’s all you can ask for and it’s another win at home which is terrific and the fans are getting value for their money at this moment.”
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P