PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley is confident the club's current slide won't leave a lasting impact on his playing group.
Saturday night's two-point loss to Essendon marked the Power's third from four games and could see it slip to third on the ladder if the Sydney Swans beat West Coast on Sunday.
A win would have seen Port take back top spot from Hawthorn.
Hinkley was measured in his post-match press conference, claiming a developing side such as his was prone to making untimely errors during games, as it did against the Bombers.
But he backed his playing group to learn from such experiences and then work hard to improve.
"This is a really good group – they mark themselves hard. I don't actually have to go after them that hard to be honest because they're a really honest young group," Hinkley said.
"There's momentary lapses, I'd say…that's what happens to every football club, the very best ones who get to the end they have very few of those.
"Those who are still learning their way still make a few at the wrong times.
"We're on the journey. We've worked really hard to get where we are, we understand we've got to keep continuously working hard."
Key to the Power losing on Saturday night was their inaccuracy in front of goal.
Port booted 7.18 for the game and although the Bombers weren't much better at 8.14, Hinkley said his side's lack of polish inside 50 helped prove the difference.
"Essendon won the game and rightly so, but we could have easily won the game of football if we had have finished off some of our work," he said.
"The (Matthew) Lobbe, the (Hamish) Hartlett, the (Robbie) Gray, the (Kane) Mitchell – I'm trying to think of [the misses] off the top of my head because there were five I think.
"There would have been goals missed by the other side, but you just feel bad about them a bit more at the end of a close loss."
The coach also admitted Port overused the ball by hand in slippery conditions.
Hinkley's men finished the game with 62 more handballs than the Bombers, but he credited their pressure on the ball carrier for forcing Port's players to continuously seek a free target.
"Yes, it was trying conditions and yes, we did overuse it at times…but I think it's their pressure that forces you to overuse the ball," he said.
"No side deliberately chooses to overuse the ball in tight, I think it's a transfer of pressure – 'you take the pressure, I don't like the pressure, you give the pressure to someone else' and then it just becomes a bit continuous."