Motherwell manager Graham Alexander urged his players to repeat their Tannadice approach when they face Ross County for another chance to get into the European places.
Well fell to a 1-0 defeat which left them four points adrift of fourth-placed Dundee United in the cinch Premiership.
Alexander’s side have now won just once in 15 league games and have not picked up three points away from home in seven months ahead of Saturday’s trip to Dingwall.
But their performance at Tannadice was among their better displays in recent months and the finer margins were well and truly against them.
Ross Tierney hit the inside of the post and Kaiyne Woolery struck the bar for Motherwell before United took the lead through Dylan Levitt’s heavily-deflected goal after an excellent one-touch passing move in the 37th minute.
The Steelmen will have main goal threat Kevin van Veen back from suspension next weekend and are just one point behind fifth-placed opponents County.
Alexander said: “It’s a great opportunity and my players showed that they want to take that opportunity.
“I spoke last week about being consistent in our mindset and how we approach things so we have to take what we did at Tannadice and take it into next week’s game and do our best.
“That’s what we did on Saturday. You can’t ask any more than that and I thought the players were excellent. I am really happy with them. I know sometimes things go against you, which they did, but I can’t ask any more from my players.”
Alexander did not fill his bench with the likes of Stephen O’Donnell, Nathan McGinley, Sondre Solholm, Liam Shaw and Jordan Roberts missing along with Barry Maguire, who is ruled out for the season.
“I hope we can get some back but we can’t rush players along if they are going to break down again,” he said, “It’s important that we look after players. But we had a very good team out there and a good bench as well. Everyone played their part.”
Dundee United head coach Tam Courts was delighted with the contribution of the three academy players that started the game.
Lewis Neilson and Ross Graham performed well in the back three and Archie Meekison looked lively in midfield.
Courts, who is hopeful that Marc McNulty will shake off the knock that forced him off, said: “Archie is similar to Lewis Neilson, a lot of our younger players are confident in their abilities and very assured.
“At this stage of the season when you play younger players, particularly because the senior players are desperate to do well and might carry a little bit of tension that younger players don’t have, they have a fearless mentality. You saw that with the young players.
“Ross Graham was colossal, particularly in the second half, he showed real moments of leadership. Archie was excellent, as was Lewis Neilson.”