Graeme Murty feels Norwich City U18s deserve 'immense amount of credit' for FA Youth Cup efforts
JASON DAWSON ©Jason Dawson
Although defeat in Manchester was hard to take for Norwich City U18s coach Graeme Murty, he still felt proud of his players' efforts in the FA Youth Cup this season.
Wins at Hull City and Sunderland were followed by a dramatic 5-4 victory over Middlesbrough at Carrow Road but a 2-0 loss to Manchester City saw the adventure come to an end in the sixth round.
“I’m really proud of them actually, I thought from 30 minutes on and the first 20 minutes of the second half we were the better team but as is always shown in football, when you’re on top or you’re in the ascendancy, you need to score and they were a little bit more clinical than us,” Murty said.
“So fair play to them and credit to them, they’re a very, very good football team with some outstanding individuals but for long periods I was pleased with the way we matched them.”
The young Canaries made a shaky start against their lavishly-funded opponents but rallied to give the hosts a stern test.
“I’ve said it about them a lot this season, when their backs are against the wall, they dig deep,” Murty continued.
“I just wish they had started at the tempo because I thought we sat off them a little bit, paid them a bit too much respect and when you have players of their quality they can really punish you.
“But once they did sort it out, and I have to say it was all them that sorted it out, it wasn’t us, they figured it out themselves.
“When they got on the front foot I thought we limited their chances and really got to play in their half a lot more.
“Fair play to the players, they deserve an immense amount of credit. They’re disappointed in there but I’ve told them to keep their heads up because they should be as proud as we are.”
Right winger Jamal Lewis was the stand-out player for the visitors and the 18-year-old, who joined the Canaries two years ago having previously played for Luton Town, was pleased with his efforts.
“I just wanted to be positive every time I got on the ball,” Lewis said.
“I thought my full-back was maybe a player that I could exploit and I felt I did that a few times. I was looking to create chances for my team but unfortunately I didn’t get a goal or an assist.”