EDS & Academy

Barry-Murphy: EDS richer for Brugge experience

City’s Elite Development Squad head coach Brian Barry-Murphy believes his players will learn more from our 5-3 UEFA Youth League defeat to Club Brugge than any other match so far this season.

A James McAtee hat-trick saw our young blues go into the final 20 minutes of our Group A fixture with a two-goal advantage, but the visitors mounted an incredible late comeback to clinch all three points.

It means we sit third in our UEFA Youth League group but remain within touching distance of both Brugge and leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

And although Barry-Murphy was disappointed to see us surrender our lead, he insists the players will treat the setback as a valuable learning experience.

“Every game is a chance to improve and there’ll be loads of lessons we can take from today, probably more so than any other game this season,” he reflected.

“You can see the stage Brugge are at, they’re a very strong team and have been together for a very long time you can see how strong they are as a unit.

“For us, the challenge was to match that and for a lot of periods we did and we created some good chances, it was just as a team we never felt in full control of the game.”

Despite City being ahead for large periods of the action, Barry-Murphy conceded that he can have no complaints over the full-time result at the Academy Stadium.

However, he also believes our young blues generally gave a good account of ourselves against a well-drilled and dangerous opponent.

He said: “I thought it was a very tough games against a very tough opponent and sometimes you just have to applaud that.

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“We were resilient early on and managed to get ourselves into a very good position, but I always felt we were going to have to defend well (to preserve the win).

“I think we dealt with Brugge’s intensity well enough today early on, but as the game wore on they became relentless in pursuit of what they wanted to do and we just couldn’t do enough to counteract that.

“I think (the main lesson to take) is just an understanding of how strong the opponent was, and what we can do to control that.

“The goals came quite quickly in the second half and in itself that can be quite a shock for the players but they’ll definitely learn from those emotions they’ve experienced in the second half.

“In the overall scheme of things today I haven’t got any real qualms about the result.”

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