Liddle pragmatic in defeat

by Kate Smith

Coach reflects on under-18s' defeat.

Sunderland under-18s coach Craig Liddle says his side must learn from their 6-3 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur if they are to progress as footballers.

Liddle’s side turned out their most expensive performance of the season as they shipped six goals against a Spurs side who they are vying with for a play-off place in the Barclays under-18 Premier League.

And Liddle told that the young Black Cats need to defend better if they wish to compete with the elite teams at youth level.

“We come up against a very, very good side but the goals we conceded were comical at times,” Liddle said.

“It’s important we don’t give the lads too much grief but they’ve got to learn from it [the game against Tottenham] and learn from their mistakes we made because that’s the biggest thing.

“We conceded six and we probably gifted them four or five.”

Liddle took positives from the three goals his side scored as they stuck to the task against an experienced Spurs outfit.

“We stuck at it and we had a good go, especially in the first-half,” he added.

“We were in the game for long periods of the second-half but the fourth goal killed the game really and we had to change things a little bit and try and force the game to them.

“They’ve got some very good players and obviously they hit us on the break and that was the gamble we had to take.”

The young Black Cats may still make the play-off places; if Spurs fail to win at West Brom tomorrow and Liddle’s side defeat Liverpool at the Academy of Light next weekend, then they’ll still progress.

And Liddle says it’s important that regardless of the outcome of Spurs’ match tomorrow, his side have to remain focussed and enjoy the final game of their campaign.

“No matter what happens, it’s a game for them to look forward to.

“There are some real good sides in this league and some good players so it’ll be another challenge and hopefully they’ll bounce back, learn from today and put in a better performance against Liverpool.”