Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce saw plenty of positives despite his team slumping to a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday.
City striker Sergio Aguero made no mistake when the ball fell to him in the 16th minute, as the Black Cats missed out on a valuable point that would have aided their relegation battle.
"It was an encouraging performance," Allardyce said. "It's obviously disappointing to come away with no points at the end of it after playing as well as we did.
"It's a hard one to take; on the chances created we should have not only drawn this game but won it, but that's not the case tonight. There are signs of encouragement there and we have to keep those levels of performance going."
Despite the disappointment, Big Sam was particularly pleased with his new signings, including centre-backs Jan Kirchhoff and Lamine Koné, from Bayern Munich and Lorient respectively, and attacking midfielder Wahbi Khazri from Bordeaux.
"The new lads performed very well today," Big Sam added. "Kirchhoff is a class player on the ball, he's very intelligent. He sees passes that not too many players see.
"Kone is a proper defender, he's done the job tonight and the fans loved it when Yaya Toure bounced off him. Khazri was impressive with his delivery of set-pieces when he came on.
"It's difficult to come to a foreign country and go straight into the side, but those lads produced the performance we wanted from them tonight."