Easter Monday’s 3-0 reversal at Exeter City was described by Russell Slade as “an opportunity missed” as his O’s side suffered their fourth successive defeat.

Orient were looking to put some more breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone and could have done so, with Wycombe Wanderers suffering a heavy 4-0 loss at Chesterfield.

But there was little joy for the E10 side after they fell behind inside five minutes thanks to City’s Jake Taylor, before their misery was compounded by a quick-fire second half brace from Liam Sercombe.

Slade revealed he held a frank discussion with his players in the dressing room after the loss and stressed the importance of the club sticking together in their bid to avoid slipping further into trouble.

The manager said: “There are four games to go. We have an opportunity to at least now get some recovery into the players. We need that desperately. I keep calling on the same ones really with such a busy schedule. We are hopeful that we will get one or two back as well.

“It is a big game at Sheffield – all four games are big. Wycombe have found it hard, I think they lost today, so we have not lost or gained any ground at this moment in time but we do need that elusive win.

“A win, a goal, it changes everything, and that is football for you. It can be doom and gloom and I feel down today. We have had a frank discussion in the changing room with the players and it is important that we stick together, see this one out and come through it.”

He continued: “But we needed a goal. We did create opportunities for us to score goals, even in the second period. At the stage of the game where Calvin (Andrew) came on there were a couple of chances for him and Moons (David Mooney) has had a header in the second period.

“So the opportunities were there to take a goal but we are not giving ourselves a chance. We are conceding too many goals right now, particularly on our travels and even at home recently, and we are not scoring enough goals either.

“We are not taking our opportunities when they do come along, so that is something that we have got to work on.”

The O’s have four games to ensure they will be playing League One football again next season, starting with Saturday’s trip to promotion-chasing Sheffield United.

That contest will be followed by a return to E10 when Yeovil Town visit ahead of the long journey to Hartlepool United, before the curtain is brought down on the season with a home match against Rochdale.

And Slade is hopeful his squad will be able to give the supporters some more points to cheer in the season run in.

He added: “I apologise that we have not got those points because it was an opportunity missed today frankly. We should be taking something out of the game but we haven’t. Hopefully we can repay them (the supporters) during the remaining games of the season.”