Graham Alexander admitted MK Dons have not hit the ground running as quickly as people would have liked after calls for his head from supporters following the 1-0 defeat to Harrogate on Saturday.
Warren O’Hora’s bizarre own goal just before half-time was ultimately the decider in a game which saw Dons have more than 20 shots on goal without finding the back of the net.
The home crowd turned on the head coach, who took over at the helm in June following relegation last season to League Two, midway through the second-half as they made their opinions on the style of football and his tenure so far known in no uncertain terms.
But the 51-year-old said he sympathised with the fans and their frustrations, especially after starting the season so well just a month ago.
“Things have changed here in a positive way, but maybe not fast enough,” he said afterwards. “We're still early in the season. There is a history with clubs who have to come to terms with relegation.
“I think you have to have a bit of honesty too about why you got relegated, and where you are going into the next season. I understand it, I've experienced it as a player, and it does bleed into next season and it does take time to get it out of the system.
“We have to give the supporters hope that we'll change the direction of the club and make sure there are happier times ahead.”
Asked if the fans’ frustration is a hangover from last season, he said: “Looking as someone who has come from the outside into it, it looks that way. They've seen that type of goal go in against them, and sometimes you just think you're back in it again.
“I've been a manager for a long time, a player for a long time - 35 years in the game. Criticism comes, that's how it is.
“I understand their frustration, and they've been frustrated for a while. We thought we'd come out of the spell of getting beaten by the way we started the season. We've taken a step back in the last three or four games.
“They buy their tickets, it's a free country, and people can say how they feel. It won't change the direction here, it is clear why we're here and we will continue to go forward.
“Hopefully at the end of the season we're all smiling together, but there will be bumps along the way.
“I've taken a lot of hits over the years, I'll always come back for more and come out the other side winning.”