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Interviews

INTERVIEW: Karl Hooper FA Youth Cup Reaction

The Under-18s coach gave his post-match thoughts on the defeat to Walsall...

31 October 2019

Sky Blues Under-18s coach, Karl Hooper is hoping his side can use last night’s FA Youth Cup defeat as a learning tool for their future development.

City were knocked out of the competition at the hands of Walsall in the first round, after suffering a 2-1 defeat in a close encounter at the home of Leamington FC.

Walsall took the lead early on through midfielder Perry Moss, before City found an equaliser from a corner when George Burroughs fired home.

Moss found the back of the net again just before the break, in what would prove to be a winner after Will Bapaga’s late penalty miss.

Talking after the full-time whistle, Hooper spoke about what his players can learn from their cup exit and how to use it moving forward for the remainder of the season.

He said: “The Youth Cup is a great learning tool for players because there’s more pressure on it in terms of the crowd, in terms of the pressure pre and post-match because it gets publicised and I think some of the lads found it hard to deal with at times from both teams so it made it a really cagey game.

“There was a lot of unforced errors from both teams and they capitalised on it very early in the game to score the first goal and from there on in it was scrappy.

“We had a few spells where we got the ball down and we were calm and composed and started to create chances especially down the left through Will Bapaga who was a threat throughout.

“We had a few chances. We hit the bar in the first half and then scored from a corner ourselves to get back into it and it was very cagey and then we get hit by a sucker punch just before the half time whistle and then we had to go into the break and regroup.”

The second half saw the Sky Blues make several changes as they looked to get back into the game, including a change in formation.

City went to two up top and they were rewarded for their efforts when Bapaga was brought down in the area with two minutes remaining.

The 16-year-old stepped up to take the spot-kick and unfortunately a fine save from the ‘keeper denied Bapaga and Hooper praised the youngster for having the courage to take the penalty.

“We huffed and puffed we didn’t create enough clear-cut chances and then we went two up top and Will has got on the end of a flick on and he’s brought down for the penalty and then the keeper makes the save.

“The best players in the world have missed penalties so it’s important he bounces back from that and doesn’t beat himself up too much. It’s part and parcel of the game and credit to him for being brave enough to step up and take it.

“It’s a shame for us because you don’t know what happens whether we go on and win it or whether they rally on and push on.”

Now after exiting the competition, Hooper wants his side to review their performance and see how they can improve and use it moving forward for the remainder of the campaign.

“I’m a massive advocate for the Youth Cup in terms of bridging that gap between youth football and getting as close to competitive football as we can because there is that added pressure and it’s a great learning experience for the lads.

“What they have to do now is make sure they go out collectively and individually and review themselves after the game and look at all the areas of the performance and look at yourself and see how you coped with pressure and how you coped with it mentally.

“The lads have to keep seeing what the next percentages they have to put on their game are in order to get to the next level from where they are now and that will be the same for all the players at the club.”


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