Gerard Houllier claimed Aston Villa record-breaker Brad Friedel was his side's best performer at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
Friedel became Villa's oldest player with his appearance in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.
But the 39-year-old belied his age with a string of fine saves to keep his side in an entertaining game.
And, while Friedel was not able to celebrate victory, Houllier was still full of praise for his contribution.
"Brad was our best player in the second-half," said the Villa chief. "He kept us in the game two or three times.
"He is doing extremely well at the moment and is in good form. If our results have been better, it is because of that."
Villa have started to turn their season around after finding themselves in deep relegation trouble at one point.
The £24million purchase of Darren Bent is proving to be a success and the England star scored his second goal in three appearances to pull them back into the contest after Wayne Rooney's first-half brace.
It was not enough, although Houllier is positive his young team will learn for their experience.
"Don't forget, there were three players in my team who have never played at Old Trafford," he said. "In the way they played, Manchester United showed they are real title contenders.
"We conceded far too early and some teams can be thrashed in that situation.
"But we wanted to try and have a go even if our one regret was that we didn't hurt them enough."