Rey Lee-Lo was proud of his side's effort as Cardiff Blues battled for 80 minutes against a power-packed Saracens in the Heineken Champions Cup.
The Blues led 14-13 at half-time thanks to tries from the Samoan centre and Dan Fish but Saracens fought back and pulled clear at the death.
They benefitted from some marginal decisions and needed no second invite with Owen Farrell keeping the scoreboard ticking before claiming a controversial try in the closing stages.
Nonetheless, Lee-Lo was pleased with his side’s effort, intensity and willingness in front of a packed Arms Park and he is now looking forward to a series of Welsh derbies.
“It was good but there was still plenty of negatives that we need to turn into positives. We’re still learning but it was a good performance for 80 minutes. We lost but I’m still proud of the boys’ effort.
“I love watching Saracens play, they have some qualities players and we knew we would have to take it to them but we came out the wrong side and that’s rugby.
“It gives us confidence going into three derby games against the Dragons, Scarlets and Ospreys so I’m looking forward to next week.”
The Blues kick-off three consecutive Welsh derbies with a home encounter against the Dragons on Friday, December 21.
And while Lee-Lo capped his return to action with a try, he knows he will have to display similar form to hold onto a starting jersey.
Talking about his try, he said: “I just ran off the boys. I had to get back in the team because there’s some good young midfielders like Harri coming up. We are pushing each other in training, which is good.
“I just love playing with the boys. These last four years, I’ve loved and the crowd makes a big difference to us. Today, playing at home, in front of our home crowd, a full house is good and now I’m looking forward to next week.”
Tickets for Cardiff Blues v Saracens are available now and can be purchased by calling 029 20 302030 or clicking here.