Steven Pressley has not given up hope that Carlisle can sneak into the Sky Bet League Two play-offs following a 4-2 win against Crawley.
Pressley’s men travel to relegated Yeovil on the final day of the regular season.
He said: “I think we can creep in there. We missed opportunities during the season but we still have an outside chance.”
Carlisle hit Crawley with a four-goal salvo inside the opening 31 minutes, the first two falling to on-loan Sheffield United winger Nathan Thomas.
Callum O’Hare prodded in the third and was immediately substituted having taken a bang to the face minutes before.
“The wee man didn’t know he’d scored,” admitted Pressley.
Hope’s 14th goal of the season made it 4-0, and Carlisle boss Pressley said: We started with an aggressive press and didn’t allow them to breathe.
“But you need high levels of fitness and to maintain that for 90 minutes and we were hanging on a bit at the end.
“The players deserve great credit and showed a good mentality. It’s always disappointing when you lead 4-0 and want more, but I’m pleased for the group.
“All we could ask of them was to go into the last game with something left to play for.”
Pressley was forced into a number of changes during the game, and he added: “The first half was some of the most exciting football we’ve played since I’ve been here.”
A smart effort by Ashley Nathaniel-George on the stroke of half-time offered Crawley faint hope and they had by far the better of the second half, adding a second through Anthony Gerrard’s own goal.
Crawley manager Gabriele Cioffi said: “Carlisle embarrassed us in the first half when it could have been 5-0 quite easily, but we embarrassed them in the second half when we had chances but didn’t score.”
There were some tough words spoken in the Reds’ dressing room at half-time, with Cioffi adding: “They were angry and upset. That’s football, but they reacted. Why didn’t we start earlier?!
“We can start to plan for next season. The last game is at home and it’s been a season rich in experience and mistakes.
“We want to be ready for next season and get answers from a lot of players to see who we can trust in the squad. This squad has a lot of skill. The last ingredient is for them to believe.”