Everton Under-21s coach David Unsworth felt his side produced their best display of the campaign, despite seeing them fall to a 1-0 defeat at Leicester City on Monday afternoon.
The young Blues dominated proceedings at Belvoir Drive but failed to find a way through before Chris Wood rounded off a counter-attack in the dying minutes to secure victory for the hosts.
And, speaking after the game, Unsworth told evertonfc.com: “I thought it was the best we have played this season. It’s disappointing for the players that they have lost the game because the performance was worthy of so much more.
“I felt it was only a matter of time before we would score. We hit the post, we should have had a penalty and we’ve forced the keeper into some really good saves. It was just one of those games in terms of scoring goals.
“But I’m very, very proud of the players today because the performance was outstanding.”
There was also reserved praise for Matthew Kennedy, who impressed coming off the bench in his first appearance since returning from a six-month loan spell with Hibernian.
“Matty was a bright spark for us when he came on,” Unsworth continued. “He had an end product to his game with a cross or a shot and he hit the bar with a free-kick as well.
“I was delighted with Matty, but I was delighted with everybody out there."
Next up for the young Toffees is a home game against West Ham United at the Merseyrail Community Stadium on Thursday.
And Unsworth believes the quick turnaround will be welcomed by his squad as they look to put Monday’s defeat behind them.
“I think the lads will want to put it right by getting a win,” he added. “We had a game in hand on the teams above us to go top of the league, so we’re determined to win on Thursday and go second or third.
“There are no complaints from me today though, you take the performance both individually and collectively over a result at this level and I thought we were outstanding.”