Winston Reid said West Ham United's youngsters did the club proud in Wednesday's narrow 1-0 FA Cup with Budweiser third-round defeat at Manchester United.
Academy products Jordan Spence and Dan Potts excelled in the wing-back positions in a new 3-5-2 formation, while 18-year-old Elliot Lee was handed his first-team debut as a second-half substitute.
Captain-for-the-night Reid said the trio had all taken the chance given to them by manager Sam Allardyce at Old Trafford.
"We had some of the younger guys come in and play and they did really well. We have had injuries but we don't use that as an excuse as it is part of football. But sometimes these things give the younger players a chance and I thought they took their opportunities in a good way.
"I thought we played really well and even though they took the lead, we worked hard to get back into the game and thought we were right in there. We had chances and know we should've put at least one or two of them away, but it obviously wasn't meant to be our night."
With the Hammers are now out of the FA Cup, the New Zealand defender said all the club's attentions could now be focused on regaining some consistent form in the Barclays Premier League.
West Ham have won only two of their previous ten league games and face relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers - including Reid's international team-mate Ryan Nelsen - at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.
While sub-zero temperatures and snow forecast, it will be cold in east London, but the No2 is expecting a red-hot London derby.
"We are taking it game by game and looking forward now to the weekend against QPR, where we know it will be another tough match but one we will be looking to win."
If West Ham are to pick up three welcome points, they will need to be more clinical in front of goal than they have been in their previous two outings - a 3-0 league defeat at Sunderland last weekend and Wednesday's FA Cup loss at Old Trafford.
Reid admitted the Hammers had not taken their chances in either fixture.
"We had some good play but in the final third we were not good enough, not up to our standards anyway. We knew we had to make the opportunities count and it just didn't happen for us in front of goal but we go ahead now to focusing on Queens Park Rangers on Saturday."