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Alex proud despite Youth Cup defeat

Alex Gibson Head of Youth Coaching at Academy Platt Lane 2008

Alex Gibson Head of Youth Coaching at Academy Platt Lane 2008

Youth team head coach Alex Gibson sees a bright future for the lads in City's current Under-18 side, despite their exit from the FA Youth Cup.

The young Blues were knocked out at the semi-final stage 6-2 on aggregate by Arsenal on Wednesday night, but after an astonishing early barrage, when the Gunners went 4-0 up, the Under 18s got off the ropes to claw a goal back before half time.

A better display after the break restored some dignity, and Alex has told mcfc.co.uk that the lads should take some credit for not letting their heads drop.

He says, "It was a difficult start, the worst we could have had. We had planned to contain them for the first 10 minutes to have a good look at them, and then to counter-attack, but unfortunately we could not do that because of the early goal.

"There were four basic errors. Since coming back from Dallas it's been quite difficult with the fatigue the players had (from that). A lot of the players had to play a lot of the games over there, it was very physical and they were older than us at times.

"We have won our league this year and overall the lads have been terrific. Their attitude is great, so is their application, and I think we saw that at Arsenal. I told them at half time that they had to roll their sleeves up, but we had created a few chances in the last 20 minutes of the first half, and we just did not get the rub of the green.

"I'm proud of them for the second half. They kept going when their heads could have dropped, and we could have had a couple more goals."

The two sides are set to meet again in a play-off for the national academy league title, and a magnanimous Alex has praised the young Gunners, coached by former Arsenal stalwart Steve Bould, while at the same time predicting good things for his own players.

"That is one of the best sides we have ever faced in my 11 years at the club. They were one of the strongest sides, both from the technical point of view and physically. They had a height advantage in many areas - set plays were always going to be a problem, but we have some very tidy players that will go on to do very well."

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