Iain Dowie accepted that his first game in charge of Hull City had ended in a cruel fashion as the Tigers lost 3-2 at basement side Portsmouth to remain deep in trouble themselves.
City led 2-1 with two minutes to play at Fratton Park after Caleb Folan found the net twice, but late strikes from Jamie O'Hara and Kanu meant that Dowie's men left empty-handed.
He commented:"It's a cruel, cruel game but there was enough spirit and tenacity to please me.
"There was always a mountain to climb, but I won't be downbeat. We have eight rounds to go of a nine-round fight. We lost the first round but can't allow negativity to happen.
"We all feel low, but I have to make them keep believing because belief is such an important thing. You learn a lot about people in disappointment.
"I went home on Thursday and my wife said I felt alive. It's a fantastic role.
"When the third goal went in it feels like a big void opening in front of you, but you have to ignore that."