Despite being eliminated by Chelsea Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy on Wednesday night, Robbie Neilson found positives in the defeat against a side littered with multimillion pound players.
Names such as Michy Batshuayi, Kenedy, Charly Musonda and Ethan Ampadu have all featured for Antonio Conte this season while in goal stood former Portugal international Eduardo.
It was ultimately Batshuayi who had the biggest influence on the night, less than 24 hours after his Champions League appearance against Atletico Madrid - the Belgian forward opened the scoring for Joe Edwards’ side 22 minutes into the game.
The 24-year-old, who moved from Marseille to Chelsea for £33 million in the summer of 2016, found the net for the second time with three minutes left in the first-half before Callum Hudson-Odoi made it three with seconds left in the first 45.
Despite a spirited second-half performance, there was a fourth goal for Chelsea after Charly Musonda curled his right-footed strike into the back of the net.
Ultimately, the quality of the Chelsea side shone through, however, Neilson felt a sense of pride after seeing his young side step up to the challenge.
“I named the team on the night of the game because I wanted to put a few of the younger ones in," Neilson said in his post-match interview. "When I named it and they found out who they were playing against, they didn’t have any fear - it was more excitement to play against these guys.
“It’s a great experience for them and while we are disappointed to lose at home by that score, in the grand scheme of things it’s about developing players and I think they would’ve defiantly had that against Chelsea.”
He added: “It’s not often you get to play against these type of players and it shows them how far they’ve got to go. Yes, it was a difficult night but we have to take it on the chin and concentrate on the league and Emirates FA Cup now.”
After a two week break from Sky Bet League One action MK Dons host Shrewsbury town this Saturday as they look to return to winning ways.
Both the Emirates FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, have enabled Neilson to rotate his side and offer much needed playing time to his squad.
“We decided to give some of the younger players a game and play a few lads who haven’t had much playing time to freshen things up. The team will change for Saturday and we’ll be ready for that.
“Shrewsbury is such a huge game for us. It’s important we get ourselves going again in the league."
Robbie Neilson and MK Dons face Shrewsbury Town this Saturday at Stadium MK, looking to pick up an important three points.
As part of the Aylesbury Big Day offer, residents with a HP18 – HP23 postcode can purchase tickets at a discounted rate of £10 adults and £3 under-18s.
General sale tickets, meanwhile, are priced from £22 adults, £17 over-65s and under-21s, and £7 under-18s while under-12s go FREE. Supporters can upgrade their seat to East Centre for £5 or to clubRed for £10.
To book tickets click HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off.