Preston boss Graham Westley was understandably disappointed by losing 2-1 at Sheffield United but praised the effort of his players.
Graham Cummins' first goal for North End gave the visitors a 38th-minute lead in Saturday's League One clash at Bramall Lane, but Ched Evans equalised four minutes later and struck a late winner having earlier missed a penalty when the game was goalless.
"It's not good to go ahead and then concede that advantage but I thought the collective spirit, desire and hunger was there for everyone to see," said Westley.
"Overall it was a big step forward for us. We worked very hard and there were a lot of encouraging signs. For a long time we were in the game and it looked like we were going to take something from it."
Westley was pleased to see Cummins find the net and believes there is plenty more to come from the Irishman, who was signed from Cork City just before the transfer deadline.
He added: "Graham is a goalscorer and he's always going to get goals. He has the right attitude and he's got everything it takes to learn and improve."