Elliott Dickman has urged his players to use the disappointment of Wednesday’s Premier League International Cup final defeat to propel themselves to the next level.

20,000 supporters turned out at the Stadium of Light as cup fever gripped Wearside, but an early strike from Galeno set the tone as FC Porto went on to run riot.

By 55 minutes the Portuguese side had secured a 5-0 advantage and despite a battling performance there was no way back for the young Black Cats, as their European adventure ended in disappointment.

And although Dickman admitted his side were outclassed, he hailed his players and the red and white army following an outstanding showing in the Premier League’s elite youth competition.

“The lads have to remember tonight and use it to propel themselves forward in whatever team they play in next season, whether it be with us, with the first team or at another club.

“The fans were great and for us to have what we had here tonight is very unique; the lads need to treasure that and it’s something that will stick with me for the rest of my life, and to have the support we were given is something that we will never forget.

“I thought we started okay in the first few minutes but the first goal sort of killed us, but that said they’re a good side,” continued Dickman.

“Without the ball we need to improve as a team and the lads need to show a better understanding of that, while also learning to love that side of the game.

“With the ball most the of the lads can handle it but to try and progress up the footballing ladder you need to be very good without it as well, but unfortunately tonight we had too many players who weren’t.

“It’s tough to lose as heavily as we have but to be fair to the lads they kept going to the end, so I’m not going to rain on their parade too much because it’s fantastic that they’ve got to a final.”

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