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'Must learn from experience' - Rioch

12 November 2013

City Academy Manager Gregor Rioch wants to see a response from his young side after Youth Cup defeat...

Coventry City Academy Manager Gregor Rioch wants his Under-18s to learn from their FA Youth Cup defeat against Crewe Alexandra.

On a difficult night at Gresty Road, the Sky Blues were knocked out of the first round of the FA Youth Cup, a competition City last won in 1987, thanks to a first-half brace from Callum Saunders, the son of former Aston Villa striker Dean Saunders.

City had chances to get back into the game in the second half but Courtney Baker-Richardson's effort was well saved whilst substitute Devon Kelly-Evans had a good effort blocked with 15 minutes remaining.

With the disappointment visable at the final whistle, Rioch wants his side to take the defeat on-board and bounce back against Swansea City at home on Saturday.

The Academy Manager said: "When you're in the Youth Cup, it is a one-off game and not something the players are always used to. The occasion demands a one-off performance and in the main, there were some good performers.

"There was one or two who were not quite with us today, maybe just a little bit of the pace and I felt the difference was their two strikers who made an impact on the game and of course, the result.

"You have to give huge credit to Crewe who were really solid and made it difficult for us. They played to a good style and a good tempo, although we were on top for the first 20 minutes of the game.

"We were in control and got forward really well at times. When you're in the Youth Cup and get knocked out in the first game, that's your experience over in the competition.

"Regardless, they have to take that experience on-board and learn from it. Every player has to take every experience on board and make the most of it."

In contrast to last night's result, City Under-18s have had a good season so far, beating Sheffield United, Brentford and Cardiff City.

Rioch reserved particular praise for right-back Ryan Smith who he said has shown the 'correct desire' a lot of the players can learn from.

He added: "When we were getting forward, Ryan Smith was unbelievable for us. He has shown us in the last few weeks that he wants to be a professional footballer and that is fantastic to see.

"He has shown the sort of desire to become a professional that we want to see the other players in the team take on board. He was outstanding, got forward really well and provided with some great width.

"There isn't too many stadium experiences in youth football these days so it is a shame to be knocked out early on in the competition but the players have to learn. We have a big game against Swansea on Saturday so the players will have to deal with the disappointment and respond." 


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