Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle was happy with his side's endeavours in their 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.
The Premier League strugglers were given little chance of getting something from their trip to the leaders and so it transpired as Gretar Steinsson's own goal and Mario Balotelli's second-half effort settled the contest.
Coyle knew his troops would be up against it at the Etihad Stadium and the home side could have put the game to bed had they taken their early chances following a blistering start.
The visitors came close to levelling late in the first half, but Ryo Miyaichi was denied by a superb save from Joe Hart, with the keeper earning praise from Coyle.
Coyle was happy enough with how his side competed in Manchester and feels their fixture list is looking a little easier having played many of the country's top teams twice now.
"In terms of tough games they don't come any tougher than coming to Manchester City," said Coyle. "I think it's over a year now they've won every game at home in the Premier League.
"I had to admit Manchester City made a fast start in the game, but we were prepared to come and go toe-to-toe and create our own chances, which we did in the first half.
"The goal itself, the first goal, that's the little break you get when you're trying to win championships. Equally at the other end it's a bit of luck that goes against you.
"It would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves, but we didn't. We picked ourselves up again.
"Joe Hart is a world class goalkeeper and he showed that with his save from Ryo Miyaichi. When you see the save back it's an unbelievable save.
"We weren't prepared to sit back and be punished. We were trying to push on and get something from the game.
"As it transpired in the second half the second goal was hard to take for me because two or three mistakes led to it. Then there was a sublime piece of skill from Adam Johnson with a backheel. That's why these players play for an elite club like Manchester City.
"On the face of it everyone wrote us off, but we more than competed and at 1-0 and 0-0 prior to that we were well in the game.
"I'm disappointed to lose any game, but we've played five of the top six teams in the country twice now. What we must do is take the positives from today and go and capitalise in the games in front of us."