EDS & Academy

Barry-Murphy says City will only learn from Papa Johns Trophy campaign

Elite Development Squad head coach Brian Barry-Murphy believes the positive lessons from our Papa Johns Trophy campaign will only stand his players in good stead – despite the disappointment of Tuesday’s group stage exit at Grimsby.

A 4-2 penalty shoot-out loss at Blundell Park after the sides had drawn 1-1 over 90 minutes meant it was the Mariners rather than City who progressed through to the knockout stages.

It was tough on the City youngsters who again played with great maturity and distinction.

And, for his part, after a campaign that saw us edged out 3-2 at Mansfield, secure a fine 3-1 win at Derby and finally go toe to toe with Grimsby, the head coach said the learnings and experience of the campaign would prove priceless for his players

“I think it has been a great experience for the players,” Barry-Murphy reflected.

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“Before the game we spoke about wanting our players to feel that experience of having to win to progress in the competition.

“So, when the result doesn’t go our way at the end of the day we can’t complain.

“We had chances to win the game – chances that we have been taking all season – but we didn’t take them on Tuesday so that’s the major takeaway.

STRIKE: Will Dickson was on target to level affairs at Blundell Park
STRIKE: Will Dickson was on target to level affairs at Blundell Park

“I also think the penalty shoot-out is a crucial experience for the players. It can’t be replicated in training so to get them to feel that sense of having to perform under that pressure is vital for us.

“But in terms of our play and our form individually and collectively I was very pleased with the players.

“Obviously we wanted to progress and show how good we are in the knockout stages, but it wasn’t to be.”

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For the City youngsters, Tuesday’s result also marked the end of the first part of the campaign with the season now on hiatus ahead of the World Cup finals with the EDS not back in action until early January.

It has been a demanding schedule that has seen Barry-Murphy’s young charges perform with distinction across PL2 where we lie in third position, the UEFA Youth League, where we are through to the knockout stages, and the EFL Trophy.

And the head coach believes the positives have been numerous - both collectively and individually.

WATCHING BRIEF: Skipper Shea Charles looks on at Blundell Park
WATCHING BRIEF: Skipper Shea Charles looks on at Blundell Park

“Overall, I’m very, very pleased,” the head coach added as he reflected on that intense first three months of the season.

“We have seen real individual progress.

"Yes, the players will be left with this feeling of disappointment from Tuesday night, but that’s a very useful tool going forward as you want to push the players all the time to make them be obsessive about improving.

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“If you reference the Derby game in comparison with Grimsby, there were a lot of elements of the opposition that were quite similar.

“So, to see our players deal with it so much better than they did at Mansfield (in our first group game) tells us that they have adapted and learned from that situation which is what we are looking for.

“And when you aren’t able to get what you want, it makes you even more determined to do better next time.”

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