IAN O'Reilly has hailed PJ Hudson as Crewe FC's best ever player, after taking positives from a decent display on Saturday.
Hudson's sublime finish to a flowing four-man move turned out to be a mere consolation for his struggling team.
But O'Reilly was pleased with a much-improved performance, and aims to build the future around his attacking midfielder.
The boss, who has been with the club since it's formation in
1998, said: 'PJ is a massive player for us. For me, he is the best we have ever had.
'He makes such a difference to us and gives us an extra dimension. We have some outstanding players over time, including the likes of Jon Dawson, Lee Westwood and Darren Vickers.
'But I think PJ is head and shoulders above them. He sometimes struggles to be with us due to work commitments.
But we need him as often as possible.
'That way we can build around him. We can't afford to lose him. Performances like Saturday's are encouraging and, if the lads can stay together, we will kick on and improve.'
Crewe fell behind to a much-disputed first-half opener, when a home striker's 'Geoff Hurst' effort was deemed to have bounced over the line.
The visitors were on top, but went 2-0 down after 50 minutes when Liam O'Reilly's foul was punished with a penalty.
But Crewe, operating with striker Gary Gordon and midfielder Steve Parker in defence, refused to give in and got one back when Parker, Richard Ingemann and Dave Hanson linked-up to tee-up Hudson for a clinical finish.
Ingemann then hit the bar and the home keeper made a stunning save from Hanson, but Crewe could not avoid an eighth successive league defeat.
Now slipping dangerously close to the foot of Division Two, they face a must-win encounter at rock-bottom Congleton Reserves on Saturday.