Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was delighted with how his Queens Park Rangers side performed on Wednesday night.
The R's were beaten 2-1 by Sunderland in the third round of the EFL Cup despite leading after Sandro fired home on the hour-mark.
A late double from Paddy McNair condemned QPR to a third straight loss but Hasselbaink was satisfied with the showing of his players who only a week ago were clattered 6-0 by Sunderland's Tyne-Wear rivals Newcastle United.
"Firstly, I think it was a brilliant game. Secondly, I am proud of my players," said Hasselbaink.
"We scored a good goal, we always knew at 75 minutes that certain players would run out of steam.
"I think we were unlucky with the first goal, we always knew it was going to be a difficult game.
"I wanted to try to win, my players tried. Let's not forget we played with a young left-back and a very young right-back [Niko Hamalainen and Osman Kakay] and they were magnificent.
"We knew they would be tired and that showed, but I am proud of them. If we are going to lose, this is the way to do it. We had grit and we were almost there."