Andy Spence was proud of the efforts of his players after Everton Ladies pushed joint league-leaders Manchester City all the way on Saturday night.
An absorbing contest saw the pendulum swing backwards and forwards, with Claudia Walker putting the Blue Girls ahead after just five minutes before City struck three times to lead 3-1 at the break.
But a resolute Everton refused to lie down and a Simone Magill strike on 66 minutes gave them fresh momentum. But City held on to claim victory.
Spence, however, hailed the performance of his side and was delighted to see his side go toe-to-toe with one of the favourites for the WSL 1 title.
“A draw would have been a fair result on the balance of the game,” he said. “To start the game as well as we did was brilliant and it was just a seven-minute spell after they equalised that really rocked us.
“I said to the girls at half time and at the end that that was the level City are at – if they get a sniff of a chance, they will take it. That’s the ruthless edge that these top teams have at the moment.
“But it is all lessons for us. The girls are disappointed at the result, as am I, but I am certainly not disappointed with the performance. It gives us a great deal of confidence knowing we just ran one of the best teams in Europe very close. There won’t be many teams that score twice against them or had them rocking in the last 10 minutes like we did.
“I have a team of winners and I am glad they are disappointed because they want to win games. My job is to just remind them how well they have done in the game. If we can take that level of performance into future games then we will be fine.”
It has been a frustrating start to the campaign for the Toffees with three defeats leaving them without a point so far. However, the level of performance has steadily improved and Spence is optimistic results will soon start to mirror the efforts of his players.
“We are confident points are going to come,” he added. “We have had a tough start with a derby against Liverpool, FA Cup finalists in Birmingham and then City, one of the top sides in Europe. We always knew it would be a difficult start.
“But the pleasing thing for me is that we have got better. If we are producing our best football of the season so far against Man City then we aren’t doing too much wrong.
“We have got to tidy up in some areas, the girls are honest in that, but we will reflect and we know we will have plenty of points come the end of the season.”