Nigel Adkins felt there were positives to take from Southampton's performance against Everton but bemoaned his side's inability to capitalise on their periods of dominance.
Saints started well and, after Gaston Ramirez had broken the deadlock, Jay Rodriguez squandered a glorious chance to make it 2-0.
Everton hit back strongly before the interval to go 3-1 in front, but Southampton still performed well in the second period and missed opportunities to get back into the game.
Adkins told Sky Sports: "I think we started ever so well. We were on the front foot and gave them a lot of problems.
"Then when they scored their first goal they were on fire for that period of time before half-time, and the challenge for us was to try and stay in the game and unfortunately we couldn't do that.
"When we look at the second half, we probably had a lot of possession of the ball, but we were not able to put it in the back of the net.
"We silenced the crowd and did create opportunities, but unfortunately we could not capitalise."
Asked if it was hard to stay optimistic, Adkins added: "We believe we play football the right way and we believe we are effective in what we do. What we will do is we will get ready for the next challenge."