Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs believes the club's youngsters could benefit greatly from a loss at Chelsea that was “tough to take”.
United were moments away from a place in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals when they conceded a last-minute penalty equaliser in a thrilling fourth-round tie at Stamford Bridge.
That sent them into extra time with the score at 3-3 but it was Chelsea who prevailed 5-4 after the additional periods of play.
But with the likes of youngsters Scott Wootton, Michael Keane and Nick Powell given some first-team game time, Giggs can see plenty of positives.
The 38-year-old, who struck twice on his first start for more than a month, told MUTV: "It's tough to take. When you score four goals away from home more often than not you win the game.
"I'm proud of the young players who played, though. There were some great performances.
"They will have learnt a lot and you learn more from losing as well.
"You try and take the positives from a game like that but there are a lot of disappointed lads and rightly so because they put in good performances.
"But they'll learn from it and the experience they'll gain from this is more than they could ever get from a reserve game.
"They had to stick all their big guns on in the end to make an impact which they did.
"As I said, though, I'm proud of the young players - they never stopped battling.
"We're just disappointed to put on a good performance, score four goals and come away with nothing."
United led three times during normal time after goals from Giggs, Javier Hernandez and Nani.
Yet each time the hosts came back to level with David Luiz scoring from the spot and Gary Cahill hitting the target before Eden Hazard converted another penalty in the dying moments.
Daniel Sturridge and Ramires then struck in extra time to secure a place in the last eight. Giggs wrapped up the scoring with the third penalty of the night after 120 minutes.
Giggs said: "We had the game in the bag with seconds to go. We had the ball deep in their half, lost it and they went up the other end and got the penalty.
"When it goes to extra time it's anyone's game."
The match was another high-scoring tie in the competition after Arsenal beat Reading 7-5 the previous night.
Giggs said: "After seeing the Reading-Arsenal game nothing should surprise you in football!
"You've got to be prepared for anything and fight right to the end. Unfortunately it wasn't to be for us."
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- Chelsea F.c.
- David Luiz
- Javier Hernandez
- Manchester United
- Premier League
- Reading FC
- Ryan Giggs
- Stamford Bridge
- The Carling Cup