Salford Red Devils may only have two points from six rounds of Super League this season, but coach Ian Watson believes his squad is heading in the right direction.
The only way is up for Watson’s team, who fought back in Perpignan on Saturday night but were defeated 30-14 by two late tries from Catalans Dragons.
Going into a tough home encounter on Friday night against in-form Wigan Warriors, the Salford chief said he had renewed confidence in his players.
Following Saturday’s game, he told League Express: “I know what our team is capable of and that was a big step forward tonight, especially in terms of effort and attitude from the week before.
“I thought we defended really well for large chunks of that first half. For the amount of pressure that we had we defended really well, but Catalans scored a couple of tries off kicks, which they also do really well. They’ve got some real threats in the air.”
Watson said it was important to take the positives from the defeat at Stade Gilbert Brutus and not dwell on a dismal start to the season so far.
He added: “What we cannot do is drop back. We’re trying to structure a new group here and it’s been pretty difficult because one player comes in then one drops out, but the boys are getting it, they are understanding what we’re about now and Kev (Brown) gave us a bit more organisation and control. But we need the right field position for him to be effective.
“We didn’t build enough pressure in the first half and we didn’t complete our sets or turn over on our terms. We made too many errors coming out of yardage which gave Catalans a lot of field position.
“We were playing against a strong wind and it was probably worth 20 points in that first half and then when we needed it in the second half it wasn’t there! But I was really pleased overall with our effort.
“We’ve picked up a couple of knocks but I was pleased with our effort. I just thought we could have been smarter, particularly in that first half.
“We lost Sarge (Dan Sarginson) in training, but I was really confident that Elliot Kear wouldn’t let us down; he always gives 110 per cent.”
“It was big strides forward from where we’ve been. All the teams we are playing at the moment are showing really good form and consistency.
“Like Wigan this week, they’ve bought Jacko off us (Jackson Hastings) and we’re well aware of what he can do but we need to worry about ourselves and not anybody else.”