Phil Parkinson praised his young Bolton side despite their 5-2 Carabao Cup first round defeat at Rochdale.
The Trotters were once again forced to field an inexperienced side as the club’s financial struggle continue to limit the manager’s options.
But Parkinson’s troops were very much in the game for the first hour of the contest and twice took the lead with first senior goals for Ronan Darcy and Dennis Politic.
“For 60 minutes, and especially the first 15 minutes of the second half I thought we were excellent, we raised our game during that period and got the second goal,” said Parkinson.
“I thought our attacking play was much better tonight, we scored a couple and looked a greater threat. I was disappointed to concede the second and after that it looked very much like a tired young team as fatigue set in.
“I think that was only to be expected and hopefully the situation at the club gets sorted quickly because in terms of players, this is it, this is all there is, there’s no other players to come in.
“As much as we have enjoyed blooding the youngsters, what you saw tonight is it. We have nowhere near enough players to stay in League One.
“There were positives to come out of the night with the two lads scoring their first senior goals for the club.”
Darcy’s 25-yard strike ran wide of Dale stopper Robert Sanchez in the 14th minute before Ian Henderson levelled from the spot after Yoan Zouma fouled Callum Camps.
Politic restored the lead two minutes into the second period after picking the pocket of Tyler Magloire.
But substitute Rekeil Pyke headed Dale level on 64 minutes before Camps added a brace in the 66th and 73rd minutes.
Ollie Rathbone completed the scoring with an 86th minute header.
Dale boss Brian Barry-Murphy said: “We produced some really good attacking football at some difficult times in the game, when we were behind, and that was really pleasing for me.
“Bolton put us under pressure and provided our lads with a number of problems, so I was delighted to see us come up with solutions.
“We scored some good goals and I thought it was a really good cup tie. Both teams really went for it, Bolton didn’t hold back, as we knew they wouldn’t, but our team provided some really potent attacking football.
“Going behind twice was a really good test for the lads, particularly when you concede two minutes into the second half, and I was impressed with the way the lads stuck to the gameplan.
“We have had a good run at home so to see us go behind was a great test and I was really looking to see how we behaved and played, and we continued to play the way I want us to, with some good attacking movements and some goals that would have gone in against any opponent.”