Despite falling to defeat in extra time at the hands of Celtic, the Terrors' boss is ready to get his side motivated for a European push with the visit of Motherwell
Despite a double from Jon Daly and a Gary Mackay-Steven strike, the Tannadice side made their way back to Tayside on the end of a 4-3 defeat to the SPL leaders.
Former Celtic skipper McNamara was delighted in the performances of two of his youngest players, 17-year-old striker Ryan Gauld and 16-year-old defender John Souttar.
"People look at that in a massive game today, not just playing against Celtic players, but international players and they don't look out of place," the 39-year-old told reporters.
"Whether they're 16 or 17-year-olds, Ryan Gauld, his ability and his awareness - for me they're a joy to work with, along with the whole squad."
McNamara was critical of the performance of under-fire referee Craig Thomson, believing two key decisions went against his side.
Gary Mackay-Steven thought he should have had a penalty, and the Dundee United defence felt Kris Commons' second goal should have been disallowed for handball.
He added: "Whether it was [a penalty] or not, I'm 60 yards away, but I thought Gary put his body in the right position goal side.
"But it's a bit dubious with Commons' second goal were it hit [him] in the hand; but again there's no point carrying on about it, these things either go for you [or they don't]."
Now the Tannadice side must prepare for the visit of second place Motherwell and McNamara hopes a victory will help his side's European push, adding praise for his team's travelling supporters.
He continued: "We've got another big game on Friday night, we've got a chance, the way the fixtures are, to jump into fourth place and the lads are a bit down at the moment, but we'll get them up for Friday.
"[The supporters] were great, they really helped us, especially when you lose a goal so early.
"It's easy just to fold and try and make no more mistakes, but we handled it and responded in the right matter. We went 2-1 up, but it would have been good to send them back up the road going into a final."