James Tomkins was delighted to get the "unbelievable" experience of playing at Old Trafford but speaking to WHUTV could not hide his overall disappointment.
In Saturday's 4-1 reverse against title-chasing Manchester United, the 19-year-old defender continued at centre-back in the absence of key defenders like Matthew Upson and Anton Ferdinand. The ever-willing Tomkins gave an admirable display on a day when Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez were in scintillating form. That said, the England Under-19 international refused to make excuses.
Speaking to WHUTV after his fourth start for the senior side and fifth appearance overall, Tomkins said: "They have got quality players all the way through their team but obviously our errors don't help. There is not a doubt about how good these players are and we gave it a good go at the end but overall we are disappointed. When you are 3-0 down in the opening half-hour against teams like this it is a long way back."
Alan Curbishley's men believed they had been given a lifeline with Dean Ashton's "very good goal" back that made the score 3-1 with an hour still to play. Those hopes were raised further when Nani was sent off for violent conduct before half-time. Tomkins, who was joined by fellow Academy graduate Freddie Sears off the bench late in the contest, added: "Second half we came out fairly strongly and thought we were back in it, but when we conceded the fourth goal it knocked us down a bit."
Even though it was a tough weekend, this homegrown Hammer will not be bowed by the experience of a heavy reverse away to one of Europe's best teams and can take heart from some timely tackles and well-judged blocks. He said: "Obviously there is a lot of room for improvement. I was fairly pleased with my performance. Playing at Old Trafford is just unbelievable and I am fairly happy but I am still disappointed to lose."