U18 coach's City reaction.
Craig Liddle highlighted his side’s battling qualities after they exited the FA Youth Cup at the hands of a strong Manchester City side last night.
Sunderland went down 3-1 at Stockport County’s Edgeley Park but put in a hard-working shift against an experienced and cosmopolitan City outfit.
“We asked the boys to go out there, enjoy the occasion and give everything they had, and I don’t think anyone could question their commitment,” Liddle told safc.com after the game.
“We probably didn’t play as well as we would have liked in the first half, but we were more at it in the second half and caused them a few more problems.
“City have an expensively-assembled squad from all over the world featuring some top-class players.
“It was a good test for us and City showed just how good they are.”
City took the lead just after the quarter-hour mark and bagged an all-important second goal just before half-time.
A third goal just after the hour put the tie out of reach, although Sunderland did fashion an immediate response as striker Mikael Mandron raced clear to score.
However, Liddle admitted City’s second goal was key, giving Sunderland a mountain to climb in the second period.
“We wanted to get in at half-time at 1-0 but the second goal just before the break killed the game, really,” he reflected.
“To the lads’ credit, they regrouped, we made a few changes and it was a better performance in the second half.
“We scored a really good goal which was well taken [by Mandron].”
The defeat rounds off the first half of the under-18s’ campaign, with the Barclays U18 Premier League set to resume following the Christmas period.
“We’ll work up until Christmas Eve and then the lads will get a mini-break, which they deserve as they have worked fantastically hard,” Liddle added.
“We’ll come back ready to go again in January ahead of the second half of the season.”