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Holmes on play-off final defeat

4 May 2018

Nottingham Forest Under 23s head coach Gareth Holmes said that he was ultimately disappointed to lose the play-off final against Bolton Wanderers but the experience can only help his players bridge the gap to the first team.

The Reds lost out 2-1 against Bolton but Holmes said that playing in front of 1,200 fans at The City Ground can only be a positive learning experience for his side.

Speaking after the game, he said: "In the first half, we were disappointing. Even though we had plenty of possession, I think we could have been a bit more purposeful with that possession and breaking lines.

"In the second half we were more positive with our play and tried to affect their backline and created one or two chances which would have been nice to have taken them.

"Once you get here you want to take it all and that is the disappointment. We put ourselves in a position where we could have done. We started poorly, right at the beginning and I think it is the first time the boys have heard Mull of Kintyre like that, with the fans singing it, and it made them realise that it is a big occasion.

"That is what we talked about, about bridging the gap to the first team and it takes nights like this for them to feel that and to know what a big football club this is. You try and tell them and they realise that, but until you are out there it is difficult to replicate it."

Holmes hopes that the defeat can only stand his players in good stead as they grow as footballers, and he wants them to come back stronger next season.

He said: "We have got to be looking for these types of experiences, as is the standards we set at this football club. We are driven as a group of staff and players, we have some good players and some good young players coming through.

"Losing in these types of occasions is a massive learning curve and they have to experience that hurt to have the hunger to bounce back. It will give them that determination to go and want that success and say that they don't want those experiences on even bigger stages than this.

"You have got to use this as an incentive to come back next season quicker, fitter, stronger, leaner and more prepared with more desire to go again. They have two choices; they can be mulling over this and carry it into next season or they can say that they want more and that is what professional footballers do with a desire to reach the top."

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