Keith Hill believes Bolton have not yet overcome all their psychological barriers despite a late winner against MK Dons moving them on to a positive points total.
Wanderers, who were deducted 12 points ahead of the season for going into administration, moved on to one point after recording their third straight League One win.
It came in dramatic circumstances as Daryl Murphy saw a 90th-minute penalty saved by Lee Nicholls but responded with the winner three minutes later to break the 10-man Dons’ resistance.
Bolton boss Hill said: “Had we not won there would have been a little bit of frustration.
“The feeling in the changing rooms is amazing. It is a scoreboard victory not a performance victory.
“But what was good about the performance was the clean sheet.
“We are on plus one but there are a lot of psychological barriers we still have to break down. We are still in the mire.
“We are not going to win every game. If we do I might be Manchester City’s next manager but that is highly unlikely. I know the football land I am operating in.
“Maybe I have created too much of an expectation that we should beat every team in League One.
“But this group of players are working their socks off to try and win a football match.
“These players have given us everything from where they have come from and the mountain we are still trying to climb.”
Bolton’s cause was helped when Dons right-back George Williams was red carded for a push in the face of substitute Thibault Verlinden after 65 minutes.
Visiting manager Russell Martin had no complaints with the decision.
“He has made a mistake and he has apologised,” Martin said.
“I don’t need to go into that again. He was playing excellently before and he gives 100 percent every game. But that changed the game for us.
“That’s the hardest part to take but even for half an hour we stayed brave with two up top.”
Martin’s side have lost six games in a row in all competitions, and a fourth successive league defeat left them in the relegation zone.
Martin added: “I thought we were going to hang on and get a point and it would have been well deserved.
“To a man I thought we were excellent and I was proud of them. So, it was gutting the way it ended.
“I thought (the penalty save) would have been enough to calm the lads down but it probably had the other effect because it got them going and our players got a bit anxious.
“We still had eight players in our box when they scored and we need to be able to defend it better.
“But if the players give us that every week in terms of application and mentality then we will be more than fine.
“We created the best two chances of the game and if either one of them goes in then it changes the game.”