JOHN Worsfold described it as a tough day, but said Essendon could glean more than a few positives from Saturday's loss to the Gold Coast.
The Bombers lost by 61 points, but after being smashed in every statistical category in the first half, leveled up and kept things interesting in the final two quarters.
With 10 new faces to slot in, Worsfold said it was a combination of poor skills, poor decision-making and lack of continuity that cost his team in the opening round.
He said things wouldn't be fixed in the space of one week, but thought there were enough positives to take from the match.
"They kept working, no doubt about that," Worsfold said.
"That is one thing that we are challenging [in] ourselves – to see that effort over the four quarters.
"They could have easily been disheartened at half-time, but they really stood up and really challenged the Gold Coast in that second half.
"So that's a tick for our boys. They have challenged themselves in that area, and they stood up for it today."
But when the match was on the line in the opening half, the Bombers battled.
Contested possessions, tackles and inside 50s they were walloped in, and Worsfold said it was an education process that would take time.
He was pleased with the performance of debutant Darcy Parish, who had 25 disposals, but said Essendon had to get more from "everyone across the board".
"(We have to) Teach our young players about the way to play, and by making mistakes they're going to learn," he said.
"We teach them why they made a mistake, why it was maybe a wrong decision.
"If it's skill execution, they know they'll get plenty of opportunities during the week to work on skills.
"If it's decision making, we educate them and we tell them why that may not have been the best decision.
"We understand we've got a lot of work to do, but in terms of winning the contested footy and inside 50s, they were pretty even in the second half, so there was some positives there."