West Ham United Under-18s go into this weekend's match against Fulham looking to build on a strong second-half performance against Charlton Athletic that brought positives despite defeat.
Tony Carr's side narrowly lost 2-1 to the team from south London on Saturday and, while it was the second league loss in a row, the academy director believes the defeat will have given his young squad vital experience for the future.
Carr said: "It's been two on the bounce, something new to the boys, but it is something that they are experiencing and will do so again in the future, like any team. At the moment, our league form is a bit patchy and inconsistent, but we have to keep learning."
West Ham United's youngsters found themselves 2-0 down after two goals in two minutes just before the half hour mark had put the hosts in control. The visitors fought back after the break, though, and their continued pressure paid off when an own goal from Callum Christie brought them back into the game. Although it was not enough for his side to bring anything away from the match, Carr was pleased at the better performance after the break.
"I can't fault the players' efforts, sometimes the ball doesn't roll for you, you create good chances, but just can't score from them," he said. "We have been missing opportunities and making a few mistakes defensively and getting punished at the moment. So all in all, we are learning to pick ourselves up off the floor after a defeat."
With an exciting FA Youth Cup tie against Nottingham Forest coming up on 2 December, as well as two more games before the Christmas break, against Norwich and Chelsea, Carr says there is still a lot to be upbeat about.
"You can take positives from defeats because I always say to enjoy victory, you have to learn how to lose. Then, when you do get that elusive victory, it becomes even sweeter."