Paul Tisdale has praised the young Exeter City side he fielded on Saturday, despite their 2-1 loss at home to Preston North End.
The defeat saw the Grecians drop to second-from-bottom in League One, three points from safety.
With Exeter's injury crisis, youngsters Aaron Dawson, Elliott Frear and James Dunne all started the match.
"I'm very proud of how they played and to make it competitive was all I could have asked," he told BBC Radio Devon.
"I'm not disappointed with the way they did, they did extremely well, but it's asking a lot.
"We're playing at a good level of football, we're playing players that are young and are using this experience and are making mistakes and they're trying very hard.
"We had lots of endeavour and I've got no gripes at all with the way we applied ourselves," he added.
Exeter conceded a late winner after a mistake from goalkeeper Artur Krysiak let in Iain Hume to score his second of the day.
"I think we had the flow of the game in the second half and we when we got the goal I though we were going to get the winner.
"But it was the sort of goal that you do feel disappointed to concede, I think decisions could have been better."