Nigel Adkins believes there were signs in a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City that Reading have plenty to be positive about.
The Royals took in their final home game of the 2012/13 campaign on Tuesday knowing that their stay among the Premier League elite is to come to an end after just one season.
They were, however, able to frustrate the high-flying Blues for long periods at the Madejski Stadium - in their first game since parting company with Roberto Mancini - while offering an attacking threat of their own.
Adkins hopes they can maintain that performance level heading forward, as they prepare for life back in the Championship.
He told Sky Sports: "We played against an exceptionally good team that play the ball very well.
"They are obviously hurting at this moment in time as well, but I thought their attitude was bang on from a players' point of view. They are good in possession of the football.
"But I must say, although we maybe stuffed them a little bit in the first half - that's maybe down to the quality of their players - we want to evolve into a team that can control longer periods of possession of the football.
"There are still a lot of positives we will take from this. The two goals could have been against anybody, they are things that we have got to avoid and could have avoided. Alex (McCarthy) has played very well in goal and we'll take a lot of positives from it for where we're going in the future."
On the Royals' bid to bounce back into the big time at the first time of asking, Adkins added: "We have got a lot of players who have played in the Championship. We know the demands of Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday, the mental side of it.
"You have got to grind out your results, every game is going to be tough, but we are looking forward to it because a lot of players here have been in the situation to go up.
"There is a lot of positivity about the place. On the training ground the players are certainly in a positive mind set and everyone wants to be in and is looking forward to the future."