Josh Cullen believes a young Development Squad gave a great account of themselves during their Under-21 Premier League Cup exit at the hands of Chelsea on Monday night.

A team made up entirely of the Club's U18 and U16 section went head-to-head with a full strength Chelsea team and gave the west Londoners a good game before going down 2-1 at Aldershot's Electrical Services Stadium.

For many of the squad it was their first taste of Development Squad football and Cullen believes they can hold their heads high after their performance against the Blues.

He told West Ham TV: "We know Chelsea are a very good side at Under-21 level and indeed at all levels so to come here and play one of the best U21 sides in the country, with a fully U18 side and a bench full of U16s, I think we gave a good account of ourselves.

"If we'd have had a bit more quality when we had the ball then maybe we could have got a more positive result.

"You can see the step-up, obviously our aim is to move into the first team eventually and the U21s is the step before that so to play one of the best U21 teams in the country and hold our own and fight as well as we did was positive for all the lads."

The Hammers fell behind after just six minutes when Isaiah Brown raced through to notch the opener but far from letting their heads drop the visitors responded strongly and struck back when Jerry Amoo's cross was deflected past Mitchell Beeney after 13 minutes.

Chelsea's winner came eleven minutes later when Nathan Ake beat the offside trap to slot the ball past Sam Howes and despite their best efforts West Ham couldn't find the leveller and Cullen believes the squad gave their all.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game and once we went 1-0 down it's all about after that and maybe not going for the goal straight away but making sure we didn't concede because then you can be out of the game before you've really got into it.

"After that it was really pleasing to see the lads dig-in and Jerry's put the ball in the right area and the keeper's made a bit of a mistake but we'll take that all day long."

The centre midfielder also believes that the game went some way to making up for the U18s FA Youth Cup defeat to Accrington Stanley when they suffered extra-time heartache.

"We've been doing well in the league this season but obviously we did have a disappointment against Accrington so coming here, although it's probably a tougher game on paper, we wanted to show that that game wasn't what we're about.

"Although we didn't quite get the result against a very good side I think we showed more what we're about and if we can add more to that then that's where we want to go."

The majority of the squad who did so well against Chelsea on Monday night will return to league action with the U18s on Saturday when they play Southampton at Staplewood and Cullen says they can build on their showing against the Blues.

"We're ten unbeaten in the league and we've come here and done well. We've got to get back on the training pitch, keep improving and hopefully when we do some of us might make the step-up to the U21s which is what we want.

"We just want to keep pushing on with our performances and make sure they're as good as we know they can be."

Newcastle tickets 450