Brighton & Hove Albion under-18 coach Simon Rusk was disappointed with his side’s second-half performance in their FA Youth Cup defeat to Derby County on Monday, but could still draw some positives from the football played on the night.
Rusk believes his players made a number of uncharacteristic decisions on the ball against a physical Derby side, but feels his squad will only learn from the defeat.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “We’re disappointed after Monday’s result, but when I sit back and look at things there are still many positives we can take.
“In the first half we played some great football at times against a really physical and at times, a direct side with real power upfront which caused us a lot of problems. They eventually ground us down and got the win.
“The boys will be more disappointed than myself after the game but we’re not the finished article at under-18 development football. I’m sure that all the players will be stronger and better from the experience and take what they need in order to improve.
“They also need to remember that winning is losing if you’re not developing at this stage and there is no question that the way we tried to play will help the development of our players in the long term.”
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The under-18 coach went on to express the pride he has in his side after some memorable victories over the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham in particular as they look to maintain their current position in the top four.
“We’ve played magnificently this year and in parts of the game against Derby, we played magnificently well again.
“It would be wrong of me to point the finger of where it went wrong in that game and forget about all the hard work from the players this year.
“We’re sitting fourth in the league which is an incredible achievement and we’ve now got a real opportunity to finish in the top four, get in the play-offs and try and win the academy Premier League which is fantastic.”