The youngsters have made a positive start to our European campaign, having taken four points from our first two group games.
However, the Elite Development Squad have suffered a tough opening two months in Premier League 2 with last weekend’s 1-0 loss at home to Brighton leaving the side at the foot of the table.
Harsley believes the challenge of pitting their wits against a talented Atalanta U19 side affords his players the perfect opportunity to respond in the best fashion to their league frustrations.
“I spoke to the players immediately after the game on Saturday and told them that in football there is always another opportunity and it comes very quickly,” Harsley stressed.
“Everyone was on the floor and gutted in the dressing room straight after the Brighton game. So, it’s not like they don’t care.
“Now we need to go again.
“It’s another game and we need to keep going, keep developing the players, hopefully get more in and around the first team and keep pushing and hope we get a little bit of luck.
“We know we have a game against a really good Atalanta side and we’ll come out fighting and put everything out there.”
It was a familiar but frustrating afternoon against Brighton for Harsley’s players, who – as they have so often this term - dominated the game but paid for failing to convert their plethora of chances.
And the boss admitted the early part of the season has been a learning curve for his young side.
“It difficult,” he added.
“It’s a fine balance between talking too much about needing to win – or putting too much pressure on the boys but, at the end of the day, that’s football and they have got to learn that pressure comes on them – especially playing for Manchester City.
“At City the first team does so well but for the boys it’s the first time at the Club where they have had this situation, where they are not necessarily going to go out against their opposing age group and win every week.
“It’s the only time this happens and it’s a quick adjustment and at the minute we are just struggling with that in Premier League 2.
“In the other cup competitions, we have done OK but the lads know in the league we have to keep striving to get better.”