Cameron Toshack insists Swansea City Under-23s must remain professional and keep fighting following their 3-0 defeat by West Ham United in Premier League 2.
The young Swans’ survival hopes suffered a blow as they conceded three times in the second half at the Liberty Stadium.
Defeat left the development side seven points from safety with just three games remaining in Premier League 2.
Nevertheless, Toshack has urged his players to keep fighting in the closing stages of the season.
“There is still a lot to play for. First and foremost, every game they step on the pitch, they should be proud to wear the Swansea City shirt,” the under-23s coach said.
“They must take poor performances on the chin, reflect on what went wrong and, as coaches, we’ll support them to understand the areas they need to improve on.
“As a professional footballer, life is difficult at times and not always a bed of roses. You have to recover from setbacks like the one we’ve suffered tonight.”
The Swans made a bright start at the Liberty but squandered a golden opportunity to take the lead when Adam King’s 26th-minute penalty was saved by West Ham keeper Joseph Anang.
That seemed to swing the contest in favour of the Hammers, who eventually ran out comfortable winners as a Dan Kemp brace sandwiched Mesaque Dju’s strike.
Toshack believes his players were made to pay for not capitalising when in the ascendency.
“I thought we did very well early on,” he added. “We were really pleased with the first 15 to 20 minutes.
“Even before the penalty, we had good chances and got in behind them. But, after that, the game changed significantly.
“When you miss a penalty, you have to keep going and doing the right things then, eventually, your reward will come. You don’t change things or panic, which seemed to be the case tonight.
“The game plan went out the window and the most disappointing thing is that, other than during the opening 20 minutes, we didn’t give a true reflection of ourselves.
“The players work hard on a daily basis on certain principles and, in difficult moments, they have to revert to them. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that for large parts of tonight’s game.”