Michael Duff praised the effort of his young charges as they restored some pride with a show of derby defiance at Bolton Wanderers.
A late goal from Nigeria international Chinedu Obasi kept the in-form Trotters riding high at the top of the U23 Professional Development League’s northern division with a 1-0 win.
The substitute's 82nd-minute strike for a Bolton side which included on-loan Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan and ex-Sunderland and Bayern Munich midfielder Jan Kirchhoff also confirmed a fifth successive league loss for bottom club Burnley.
But despite the unavailability of Aiden O’Neill, Oliver Younger, Dwight McNeil and James Clarke, the Clarets bounced back from a 5-0 defeat to Birmingham City last week with a far more resolute performance to convince Duff things will pick up.
“It was much better – other than the result,” said the Under-23s’ boss.
“We asked for a bit of fight after the last two or three weeks.
“Again, we played an older team, with one or two first-team players playing for them – and we lost three or four to the first-team game yesterday, which is good.
“They need to be playing with the first-team players to aid their development.
“I didn’t think there was anything in the game and, if anything, I thought we might go on and nick it.
“They probably feel they just shaded it. I thought we just shaded it, so 0-0 was probably a fair result. But football isn’t fair and that something they’re learning at the minute.
“We gave away a soft goal and those little details and margins are what it’s about, but a better performance – definitely.
“I think if we put in a few more performances like that then we won’t be far off a result.”
The Clarets are without a win in the league since mid-November but have won three of their five matches in the Premier League Cup and know they will advance to the knock-out stages if they take a point from Swansea City in their final group game at Curzon Ashton next Monday afternoon.