Alan Stubbs says a 0-0 draw at Aston Villa was fair reward for Everton Under-21s' latest efforts.
The Blues extended their unbeaten run to 15 games at Bodymoor Heath on Monday, having already qualified for the knockout stage by clinching top spot in Group One a week prior.
A third successive goalless draw ended the regular season phase, with both sides striking the woodwork in an entertaining contest.
After a slow start in the Midlands, Stubbs was pleased to reflect on an improved showing after the interval.
He told evertonfc.com: "I thought we didn't start the game well and we gave them a bit of impetus to come at us. We invited pressure needlessly at times just by being sloppy and that was probably from the senior boys more than anything.
"In the second half, the lads came into the game more and we looked a threat.
"We created a few chances - we hit the outside of the post and their goalkeeper has made a few good saves. We could have easily scored a few goals, but they could have done the same in the first half.
"It was probably a fair result. The defences were on top for both teams at the end."
Everton now face a play-off clash against the winner of Group Two, with just Newcastle United and Bolton left in contention.
And having set his charges the challenge of going unbeaten through their fixture list in Group One, Stubbs admitted his delight upon seeing that goal achieved.
"All credit to the players," he continued. "To do that, whichever group you're in, is not easy.
"They've responded really positively, they've grown in confidence and they look an organised unit.
"They can be very pleased with what they've done up to now."