Carlton have racked up three losses from three rounds but coach Brendon Bolton insists the scorelines and performances show progress for the Blues.
Saturday's 19-point loss to Hawthorn at Launceston drew praise from Bolton as his players made the reigning premiers work hard for victory, but the coach wants more than narrow defeats.
"We're doing a lot right," he told reporters.
"We're on the right track in terms of effort, there's no doubt about that."
For the first half the Blues were clearly the better side, but the Hawks pounced on any lapse in concentration and got the upper hand, winning 10.14 (74) to 7.13 (55).
"There were just some times where we needed to take a clean mark or kick the goal, or we turned a ball over that we shouldn't and it really hurt us because they make you pay," Bolton said.
Last round Carlton went down to Sydney by six points, and a week earlier missed out by seven points against West Coast.
"We understand there's progress," Bolton said.
"However, we are not absolving ourself from the responsibility of we want to evolve into a team that not only tries hard and gets close but makes teams pay when we need to."
The Blues take on St Kilda next Sunday at the MCG.