AC Milan coach Clarence Seedorf insisted he was seeing signs of progress in his squad despite Sunday's 2-0 home loss to runaway Serie A leaders Juventus.
The Rossoneri largely dominated the opening 45 minutes but went in at half-time 1-0 down through Fernando Llorente's goal, and Carlos Tevez sealed victory for the Turin giants in the second half.
"The defeat is there, but my players' performance was a good one," Seedorf said on his club's official website. "We knew we faced a strong team and we tried to limit their strong points.
"I think the first goal set the tone for the game. Juve showed their strength and I think Tevez was the difference.
"He made a great play in Juve's opening goal before scoring a goal like the ones I used to score when I was a player. You can only applaud them.
"The only thing that can stop Juve is a tank.
"With respect to my players, I saw a big improvement and I'm pleased. This was an opportunity to prove to ourselves that we are on the right path.
"Our display against Juve should give us a big boost in confidence in order to continue to grow and improve in the future."
Milan are 10th in the standings, six points behind city rivals Inter Milan, who are fifth and hold the last Europa League qualifying spot.
Milan visit Udinese on Saturday before travelling to Spain to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last-16 return leg on March 11.
The Italian side must overturn a 1-0 deficit at the Vicente Calderon to progress to the quarter-finals of Europe's elite club competition.