Graham Potter has urged Swansea City to stick together as they battle through a difficult patch following defeat at Derby County.
The Swans were beaten 2-1 at Pride Park thanks to a double from the Rams’ on-loan Liverpool wideman Harry Wilson.
A late Fikayo Tomori own goal gave the Swans hope of salvaging a point, although Potter conceded that Derby were worthy winners.
Nevertheless, the Swans boss took heart from the fighting spirit his youthful side showed as they suffered a third successive Championship defeat.
“We stayed in the game and dug in. I was really proud of that,” Potter said.
“We have a young group – the starting side today was very young.
“There’s learning for everybody to do, myself included, but the character of the players and their determination not to give up is something we can take forward.
“We have had a bad week. Football can do that to you – you can have good weeks or bad weeks.
“We have played three good teams. We have a young group with a number of players who are going through the process of finding their way in their own careers.
“We have to stick together – me and the players. We know what this process is about, we are in it, and we cannot fault the effort of the players.
“I am learning all the time about the Championship and about the players, what we can do and what we can’t do.
“It’s a great challenge and I am enjoying it, but of course I don’t like losing games.”
There was little between the teams in the opening half hour, with the Swans showing some promising signs going forward.
But seconds after Jay Fulton had come close to opening the scoring, Welsh international Wilson found time and space 25 yards from goal to unleash a stunning drive which put the hosts ahead.
It was 2-0 before the break as Oli McBurnie’s pass was picked off by Wilson and he rifled low into the net.
The Swans huffed and puffed in the second half, and gave themselves hope late on when Tomori turned a Matt Grimes corner into his own net.
But the visitors were down to 10 men late on when Daniel James limped off and there was to be no last-gasp equaliser.
“The players put everything into the game, but over the course of it Derby deserved to win,” Potter said.
“I am proud of how the players hung in there and made the last 20 minutes an interesting encounter.
“In the first half we were not quite ourselves. I have to look at myself and take responsibility for that because we were probably a bit too deep.
“Maybe we were a bit too passive because of our set-up and I have to look at that.
“Their first goal came from a transition and then a moment of a great quality, while the second comes from a bit of an error by us.
“We had an idea of how we wanted to play to start with and we got in behind them a couple of times with Dan and Oli.
“But when you’re playing the third game in a week, you’re never sure if you can play a high press for 90 minutes or whether you should play on the transition.
“At 2-0 we had to change things around. We wanted to get Jeff (Montero) on but he isn’t able to last 45 minutes at the moment, and it is similar with Leroy (Fer).
“Of course we are disappointed. It’s been a bad week for us, although we have learned a bit again.
“What we have to do now is turn that learning into better performances.”
The Swans’ staff and players made a point of applauding their supporters at full time.
“The support was incredible today – that’s why the boys went over to the fans at the end to acknowledge them,” Potter added.