Boss Nigel Clough was upbeat after seeing his Derby County side narrowly miss out on clinching a place in the Carling Cup final.
The Rams were beaten 4-2 in the second leg of their semi-final at Manchester United, meaning that they were edged out 4-3 on aggregate by the reigning Premier League champions.
Clough told the club's official website: "Even in the first half, although they scored three goals, we were quite encouraged by some of our play.
"It was a big improvement on Saturday and we were looking for that.
"The most pleasing thing was to come back out at 3-0 down and do that in the second half.
"To be beaten 4-3 on aggregate by Manchester United is not a mauling, we have lost by the odd goal and if we had got a break you never know.
"We can take a lot of positives and we just sensed that little something in the dressing room, more togetherness and determination, which we are going to need in the next three months."