Lead PDP Coach John Dempster was ‘proud’ of his players when reflecting on his side’s FA Youth Cup performance against Leeds United.
The Sky Blues were knocked out of the competition after a 4-1 score line however Dempster believes there were plenty of positives to take.
“I think it was certainly a game of two halves, the first half we were probably the better side, and we went in at 0-0 and we were pleased with the performance.” Dempster said.
“But it’s the old adage goals change games and I think when we conceded that first one, we became very open, a bit like a basketball match, and the ball was going back and forward to both boxes and of course the next goal is vital and unfortunately the opposition got the goal which led to it being an uphill battle.
“I have to say though I am very proud of the players tonight because they never gave up from minute one till the end and they kept fighting and on a different day I think it could have been a different story but full credit to Leeds in the end because they were clinical second half.
“They scored four goals which they will say are good goals but of course when you concede the goals you look at them slightly differently and I think we could have done better certainly on three of them but full credit to them and we wish them well in the first round."
Dempster’s team were playing at the Coventry Building Society Arena for the first time and he said it has given his young side hopefully a taste of things to come.
“They weren’t fazed, a lot of these players were experiencing the FA Youth Cup for the first time.
“We played Southampton last season and not one of the starters from that were in the team tonight, we were young again with a lot of Under-16s starting or coming off the bench and they’ll benefit from that experience.
“The first and second years, Head of Coaching Adam Bridgeford spoke to them after the game about using this as a motivation to get more experiences like this in adult football, in the real FA Cup and playing in stadiums with bigger crowds.
“All in all, I think the players handled it really well, the occasion, under the lights, it can get to the players, and they can underperform but I don’t think many players did that this evening.”
With the cup tie scoreless at the break Dempster spoke of the importance of scoring the first goal and says his side will learn to be more clinical with their chances.
“Being clinical in the final third, I think when you look at comparisons between the two sides, Leeds were a lot more clinical than us.
“I haven’t seen the stats, but we had a lot of chances and probably had more final third entries than we usually have but we need to better in terms of creating and scoring and that is not just down to the forward players that is down to the midfielders and the defenders when they are going up for set plays.
“It’s not a dig out at the more attacking players, it a message to the whole team really that we can be better going forward but like I say as always with this group the level of commitment and their attitude towards the work can never be questioned.
“We had a couple of players too who have just come back from injury tire towards the end which made it difficult as well.
“The importance of fitness and that quality is always important in football, no matter what age group."