John Cotter believes Cork City can turn their European tie around, but admits the struggling team are going through a period of transition.

City have a mountain to climb if they are to progress to the second qualifying round of the Europa League as they were beaten 2-0 by Progrés Niederkorn at Turner's Cross.

First-half goals from Belmin Muratovic and a Mayron De Almeida penalty were enough to see Progrés take a commanding lead into the second leg in Luxembourg next Thursday evening, with Karl Sheppard missing a first-half penalty at the Cross.

The 2017 SSE Airtricity League champions are languishing in seventh place in the league table, 30 points adrift of Dundalk and John Caulfield left his post as manager earlier in the campaign.

Interim head coach Cotter says it is a challenging time on Leeside, but denied it was a crisis situation at the club.

It's a rebuilding job, it might take a few months

"A few players have left in the last few weeks, and if you could get players in, you would. That's what we are trying to do as it’s always good to freshen up a squad," he told RTÉ Sport.

"It’s a rebuilding job, it might take a few months. We are well aware of what needs to be done and we are working on that all the time."

Reflecting on the defeat to the Luxembourg club, Cotter says the nature of the goals clouded the performance.

Colm Horgan's defensive lapse was pounced on in the 11th minute, while Niederkorn doubled their advantage from the spot after Horgan brought down the lively Mayron De Almeida inside the area.

"I don’t think the performance was too bad, but we gave away two awful goals. You can’t legislate for that and at this level you get punished for that," he said.

"After we gave those goals away, we lost our way a bit. We need to pick ourselves up and we still have the belief we can get the first goal and open the tie up."

The concession of the penalty was particularly difficult for Cotter to stomach.

"We spoke all week about making sure we are not caught on the break and we were. That player wasn’t probably going towards goals. I’d always encourage lads to stay on their feet on those occasions. We need to get going again for next week."