Teddy Howe spoke of the positive influence of the experience around him and a young Reading side on Saturday afternoon, as the 10 men of Reading held on to a 1-1 draw against Cardiff City at Madejski Stadium.
Yakou Méïté equalised for the Royals early on after an early opener from Cardiff's Callum Paterson, with the match being taken to a replay in Wales in early February.
Tom McIntyre received a second yellow card in the second half, with Reading fighting hard to the final whistle to hold on to their place in this season's Emirates FA Cup.
"A 1-1 score at home isn't a great score for us, but we did well and dug in to play on with 10 men, and I think we managed to do well in the end," said young full-back Howe after the final whistle.
"It's good that we had Charlie [Adam] and Garath [McCleary] in the team today, it helps us youngsters to push on and do well.
"It encourages us to do things we may not normally do if it was just us youngsters, so having that experience in the team is always good.
"It helps us get through the game with experienced minds, and it helps me and the other boys a lot."
📷 Gallery | Replay required as emotional Yakou hits the target in tribute to his dad25 January 2020
Howe spoke of how the team have been rallying around Yakou Méïté, who scored upon his return to the team after the tragic loss of his father last weekend.
"Yakou's had a hard week - everyone's there for him," Howe explained. "All the team are behind him, he's like a brother to all of us and we're all going to be there for him.
"It was great to see him score, a great moment for him and hopefully we'll see him score again come Cardiff away."
Howe's colleagues in defence on Saturday all came through our youth ranks, with the defenders all having played with each other plenty of times before.
Andre Burley and Gabriel Osho were brought on in the second half following Tom McIntyre's sending off and Matt Miazga's injury, with the youthful back-line battling to the end to earn a replay on the day.
"I thought it was a bit harsh on Tom, but I'm going to be biased towards our team," Howe continued. "I thought he played well all game, he gave it his all and it's just one of those things in football.
"This gives us the chance to show the manager what we've got again in the FA Cup, to keep us going in the running of things.
"It's good for the youngsters, we can get more game time and we can show the manager what we can do. Obviously, we want to go as far as we can in the cup and everyone wants to do that as well."