Nottingham Forest assistant Under 18s coach Gareth Holmes praised the players’ second-half display in last night’s FA Youth Cup defeat against Liverpool.
The Reds came from 1-0 down to equalise through Adam Crookes but were dealt a cruel blow in injury time, exiting the competition with a 2-1 defeat.
But Holmes was pleased with the team’s efforts.
He told Forest Player HD: “I thought the boys did tremendously well in the second half.
“If we could have one criticism it was probably that we didn’t have enough belief in the first half to go and play the way we can, but that second half is where we’re at consistently in the league. I think if we’d have put that second half performance into the first as well the game could have had a different result.
“[After the equaliser] I thought there was only going to be one winner – us. We showed more energy and probably more inventiveness to go and break them down.
“We limited them to a few counter attacks in the last 20 minutes so when we scored I think everyone thought ‘Go on then. This is our time.’
“But a bouncing ball or a mistake can often cost you.”
Forest still have their sights set on the league title and Holmes and the rest of the staff will now be doing their best to focus the players’ minds on ending the campaign on a high.
The coach said: “I think it’s a two-fold experience that the boys have had. They’ve had the experience of defeat but also of competing against one of the best academies in the country.
“We’ve got to carry on the season as we’ve been going and make sure the boys get something from it.
“After the disappointment and hurt fades away they’ve got to learn from this, say ‘I don’t want that again’ and make sure we’re lifting that trophy at the end of the year.”