Dean Keates says Wrexham need an injection of confidence if they are to get back on track in the National League this season.
In Keates’ first match back in charge, Bobby Grant gave the Dragons the lead but then missed a penalty to double the advantage as Wrexham ended up drawing with Harrogate.
And the manager admitted the penalty miss was a key turning point, confessing that nerves crept in – and ultimately proved costly – in the aftermath.
“A lot will be said about the penalty, but we had chances in the first half and the keeper made a few good saves and we had a chance in the second half, where the keeper made another good save as well,” he said.
“The penalty is crucial; it gives them a little bit of a lift and puts us on the back foot.
“I’d probably guess that what happened is the story of the season, certainly from the games I’ve watched. It was a little bit soft giving the goal away.
“I think because we didn’t score the penalty [and] we didn’t get the second goal, there were some nerves and it was a bit anxious around the whole place. We need to address that.”
Keates’ return heralded a tactical switch to his favoured 4-4-2 diamond formation, with Grant and Oswell operating up front and Paul Rutherford tucking in just behind them.
And Keates is relishing more time on the training ground this week, and the lead-up to next Saturday’s Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup tie against St Mirren Colts.
He said: “We had the players in yesterday, but we couldn’t do too much because the players are still in recovery mode from the weekend. But it gives us a few days now to get into them again.
“As I’ve said to the players after the game, it’s disappointing but it’s something for us to build on.
“There’s more than enough in that changing room. We need to build a bit of confidence, like I’ve said. [It’s up to us] to change the atmosphere and the environment and make everything more positive.
“They’ve taken a bit of a body blow, but they need to step up now. That comes with hard work, and that’s what we’re expecting of them.”