A bitter lesson to learn for City starlets
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
David Wright urged Norwich City's youngsters to use their FA Youth Cup heartache to push them onwards and upwards, after Tuesday night's 3-1 quarter-final loss to Birmingham City.
The Canaries were punished by a three-goal salvo in the second half at a snowy Carrow Road, before Anthony Spyrou replied in the final seconds.
Birmingham's reward is a two-legged semi-final against Chelsea's all-conquering academy - and Wright admitted the visitors were full value for the victory in front of watching head coach Daniel Farke and a number of City's first team squad.
'We just didn't perform,' he said. 'I didn't think we were brave enough.
'We weren't on the front foot. That was what we worked on.
'We had to press them. When we went 2-0 down we were brave enough to press but it was too late then. You have to trust yourself and your team mates around you.
'We created some good first half chances and they only split us open once in that period.
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'We didn't do the things we had practised and it bit us on the backside.
'The lads are very quiet after the game, as you can imagine. They are really disappointed with themselves. You have to hold your hands ups and say congratulations to Birmingham. They were better.'
Wright wants his starlets to bounce back quickly.
'Listen, the FA Youth Cup is great but this is about development and what happens in a year or two years time with this group,' he said.
'We have to produce players for the manager who are good enough and brave enough to step into a first team environment and perform in front of 27,000.
'It was great to see the manager and some of the first team players here. There is a real bond and a real mix.
'I think maybe the occasion got to the lads.
'They knew what could happen in the next round, with the semi-final being televised and other bits and pieces. That is part of their journey. They need to be exposed to that and deal with it better.
'Our first team played Chelsea over two games in the FA Cup and that is the challenge.
'A number of this squad is already playing at developmeent level so the next step for a guy like Max Arrons, who is doing particularly well, is to play in front of 27,000 at Carrow Road. We have to expose them to pressure situations.'