Lee - Great learning curve

U18s head coach David Lee reflects on Wednesday night’s FA Youth Cup tie at Nottingham Forest.

The Baby Whites lost 3-2 at the City Ground after extra time despite a bright start when Zach Clough’s stunning strike from 25-yards into the top corner gave the visitors the leading inside the opening two minutes.

Forest hit back in the 19th minute when Derrick Otim side footed home from close range. It wasn’t until midway through the second half until the next goal was scored as Wanderers regained the lead after centre half Kieran Fenton slid to direct the ball into his own goal.

But the Reds levelled once more in the 77th minute when substitute Jordan Palmer-Samuels scored with his first touch to send the tie to extra time.

After finishing 2-2 after 90 minutes, Forest scored the decisive fifth goal when Palmer-Samuels grabbed his second of the evening in the 101st minute to end the Baby Whites’ FA Cup dreams for another year.

Sharing his thoughts after the game, Lee said: “I am proud but disappointed because when you play at these occasions you need every player firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately you can’t have a couple of players who are not playing at their maximum.

“We made a great start to the game through Zach Clough with the goal and the job is to then retain possession. Throughout the 90 minutes we didn’t retain possession and especially when you are going into extra time you have to again retain possession.

“Every credit to Nottingham Forest because they will have done their homework on us, they put us under pressure and when you are under pressure you have to have players who can deal with the ball.

“We always look like we are going to score goals but on the other side of things we always looked susceptible to the counter attack and we looked like we were going to concede goals.

“That is not a criticism of individuals that is a criticism of the team. The team structure was disorientated because of the way Nottingham Forest played against us.

“It is a learning curve for our players, they need to learn play out of possession, in possession we are fantastic in the middle of the park but out of possession we need to tighten people down and put them under pressure.

“That is where Nottingham Forest found their dominance and they were able to get the ball down and play and they were a threat to us.

“You have to always come away with positives and the players who have done well know they have done well and the players who are a bit disappointed on the night and know they haven’t performed, I don’t need to tell them that.

“Overall it is a learning experience for every player because if you want to play at Championship level or even higher then you have to encounter situations like that week in week out.

“It is character building for the players, yes they are hurting and they are disappointed like we all are but hopefully they will learn from the experience and be bigger and better for it for the future.”

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