City head to Sunderland on Saturday with the chance to move top of Under-18s Premier League North if they can beat the current leaders at the Academy of Light.
And following the 3-1 defeat to Stoke City, Wilkinson says he expects his players to respond, irrespective of who the opposition is at the weekend.
“The lads will be disappointed, and so will we be, as staff reviewing this game,” he said. “But obviously we’ll have to put this game to bed and look ahead to Saturday.
“It’s a big game of course but it doesn’t matter who we were playing on Saturday, I’d be wanting a reaction from today’s performance.
“It’s a great game for us to go into after this, and we’ve got a few questions to answer.”
City started strongly against Stoke and were ahead through Alfie Harrison’s smart finish but we were stung when the Potters scored twice in a minute to take a lead into half-time.
Wilkinson said he expected his side to get back into the game after the restart, but it was the visitors that added a third as City were beaten for the second time in the group stage.
“They kept going but that’s the least we expect from them and we lacked intent,” he added.
“We didn’t create enough chances and when the ball was dropping in their box, it was always a Stoke player that was there first and I didn’t think that was a coincidence.
“There were some okay bits in the second half but certainly we expected a stronger reaction than what we got. I fully expected us to turn the game around. We were far too loose and it was really disappointing.”
Sunderland offers a great chance to bounce back and Wilkinson says there is no reason why they can’t travel to the north east with confidence despite their recent setback.
“We’ll have to go there and respect the opposition but also go there and believe we can win the game,” he said.
“If we give anything like our best performance with and without the ball, I’d feel confident we could go and win.
“So we’ll prepare the game on Thursday and Friday to look at Sunderland and come up with our gameplan and what we need to do and hopefully the lads can carry it out.”
You can watch the Under-18s at Sunderland on CITY+ and Recast.
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