Brighton & Hove Albion joint under-18 coach Mikey Harris admitted the club’s youngsters were left gutted by a 2-0 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park in the FA Youth Cup fifth round.
The fledgling Seagulls came unstuck as they fell behind to two goals inside the first 12 minutes, and despite giving everything to get back into the game, they couldn’t break down the Toffees.
Harris said, “We’re disappointed and the boys are absolutely gutted. They gave it everything, particularly in the second half when we created a lot of pressure and final third entries, but we were just lacking a bit of quality to get ourselves back in the game.
“Credit goes to Everton they punished us for us not getting going. They’re top of their league for a reason and are a very good side.
“Once they got 2-0 up, the way they managed the game was very good. We wish them the best of luck in the next round.
“From our point of view, we’re very disappointed because we didn’t play to our full potential over the 90 minutes. Our attacking players can offer more than that.”
The joint under-18 coach was pleased with the improved display after the break, and feels the players can leave the competition with their heads held high.
“We made a tactical change in the shape bringing Marc [Leonard] on for Stef [Vukoje]. We felt Marc would offer us something different.
“The way the boys approached the second half was much better, so they can be proud of their performances across the three games.”
Harris says the FA Youth Cup run, which included a penalty shoot-out win at West Ham United and an eye-catching victory at Manchester United, will live long in the memories of his players.
“These boys they are just starting their careers and the Youth Cup is very special. If you speak to most senior pros they will look fondly on it because it is their first experiences of playing at a ground like this.
“It’s a different dynamic to a league game and they will take plenty from it.”