Stevenage caretaker manager Mark Roberts admits it's been a challenge taking the reins from departing boss Gary Smith after they slumped to a seventh straight away defeat, going down 3-1 at Tranmere.

Zoumana Bakayogo's first-half double, along with a goal from Ben Gibson, put Tranmere in control despite Luke Freeman's exquisite free-kick.

And Roberts, who started at centre-back at Prenton Park, revealed that he was grateful to the squad after their response to him stepping into the breach.

He said: "It's not been the easiest of weeks; it's always a turbulent time. When Gary left there was big disappointment and it was up to me to pick the players up and try and get a positive reaction out of them and I cannot thank the lads enough, I'm proud of every one of them.

"They have come together and shown spirit and collective team togetherness which will serve us in good stead going forward.

"The role is something I try and take in my stride and something I try and do to the best of my ability. I'm obviously gutted we didn't take something from the game because I felt we were equipped and showed quite a few positive things in the game."

The win was enough to send Tranmere back into the play-off places as they picked up a first win in three and manager Ronnie Moore believed the win would have been more comfortable if they had taken their chances.

He added: "It should have been seven at half-time with the chances we had and if Mama (Sidibe) scores in the second half it's 4-1 and we would probably go on and win by a lot more goals, but it was pleasing. Overall I think we were the better side and deserved to win.

"It's not like me but we gave the lads three days off last week and then the snow came and we couldn't train so in the end they have probably had about five days off and I thought in the first half we were nice and bright.

"I don't think they could handle the front four in the first half. Those four, on their day, are hard to contain and there is no way in this world their back four could cope with them."