Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes that his players can take positives from Saturday's defeat to Manchester United, despite surrendering a two-goal lead.
GettyImagesPaul Lambert believe his youngsters will gain valuable experience from Sunday's loss to Manchester United
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An Andreas Weimann double put Villa in line for an upset against the Premier League leaders, but they conceded three second-half goals to drop all three points.
Lambert sees the strong start to the match as an indication that his side can challenge any team in the league.
"I'm proud of them, what they've done," he said. "It's a young team growing up and they'll take a bit of belief from that [game against United]. The experience will make them better and Manchester United have come back like that against many an established and experienced team.
"People thought United would come here and roll over us pretty easily but we gave it a right good go and I've told them 'you've got nothing to be down about'. I think we have been playing well for the last few weeks and we can take a lot of belief from that performance.
"The young lads will make mistakes like everybody else but if they keep showing that enthusiasm and that hunger for the game, then they and the club will be fine.
"The players can take great confidence from leading against Manchester United. It will make them grow a bit. You can see they are a young side but you wouldn't have thought that the way they played. They played with a lot of maturity, a lot of discipline in their game and I can't fault them for the way they went about it."
Villa's youngsters were largely culpable for United's comeback, but they also offered a lot of promise in attack and Lambert was quick to praise 21-year-old Christian Benteke.
"I think he's not just a strong player, his technique is terrific and for someone who is just 21 he can be anything he wants," Lambert said. "Christian keeps going. He's a brilliant guy as well. His character is terrific but my God, he's a proper number nine. He did give the United centre-halves a run for their money."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.
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