Graeme Murty has given his assessment of our Under-21s' away defeat to Leeds United in the Premier League 2.
The young Lads went into the match following an impressive victory over Stoke City in their last outing.
In spite of the result, Murty left Elland Road with plenty of positives to take after his side's spirited display against the league leaders.
“Despite the result, I am really pleased with the way the players approached it. I thought for 90% of the game we were right there with a team top of the table.
“I think with a bit more ruthless nature in the final third the result was there for us, and I thought they showed the difference when they got into that position. I have to shout out Josh [Goodfellow], our analyst, who showed us the positions they score from – cutbacks – and lo and behold, that’s how they’ve caught us with their second goal.
“They had three shots in the first half and scored two, we got into the box numerous times, and we could not fashion an outstanding opportunity. There was a lot of effort and work, but we need to be a lot more clinical when we get ourselves into those positions.
“I was really pleased, I think it shows the distance we have come, we went toe-to-toe with them. Our ability to sustain intensity was better but when we dropped off it looked as though it was going to be a challenge.
“In terms of bravery and getting on the ball, our pattern, and our understanding of how to play through a well organised high pressing team; I was really pleased with them.
“There are elements you want to get better but the way we went about our business was pleasing. We have come to Elland Road and stepped onto the pitch with belief that we wanted to be there which was really pleasing.”
The Lead Coach highlighted the return of Niall Huggins following a frustrating period on the sidelines.
The right-back completed 45 minutes on his return to Elland Road and played a key role in the build-up to Isaac Lihadji’s equalising goal.
“He has been a pleasure to be around, he has had a challenging time, but he has never failed to come in with a smile on his face and treat the games with the respect they deserve.
“This game was a special one for him, I think he thoroughly enjoyed himself and had a hand in the goal which was pleasing for him. We must make sure we are building him up and doing what is right for him.
“Overall, I’m pleased he got through the 45 minutes, and he can now relax and look forward to his next game.”
The youngsters now have two games remaining of the 2022-23 season, with the penultimate game being played at Eppleton against Nottingham Forest on April 3.