Reading boss Ruben Selles said his young squad have showed they can compete against top teams despite their loss to Ipswich Town on penalties in the second round of the EFL Cup.
His League One side forced a shootout after scoring an equaliser on the 87th minute to level the game at 2-2.
But they only converted one of their spot-kicks and lost 3-1 to the visiting Tractor Boys of the Championship.
"We wanted to make the next round," Selles told BBC Radio Berkshire.
"When we go that far in the game, get a penalty shootout, we want to go further but unfortunately we didn't make it."
The Reading head coach has stuck with his young squad in both league and cup competition after his more experienced players, who started the season, failed to get results on the pitch.
His side, which features a number of players from the Royals Academy, have replaced the likes of Andy Carroll and Nesta Guinness-Walker, who were regular starters in the Championship last season.
Selles, 40, says his side are learning from every game.
"For a lot of our players, it was the first time they had taken penalties in their professional careers," he said.
"They played a good game of football and showed that they can compete against really top teams.
"We are proud of their performance and the work they are putting in.
"Just unfortunately we didn't get the result in the end."
Twenty-year-old Reading midfielder Michael Craig says playing with some of his fellow Academy graduates is helping on the pitch.
"Having team-mates like Caylan Vickers and Matty Carson out there really helps," he said.
"We already have established relationships and that helps with communication during games.
"I feel extremely fortunate at the moment to be working under a manager who is not afraid to put us into the game and trusts us to go out and do a job on the pitch.
"There are a lot of positives from tonight that we can take into the league."