PDP Lead Coach Chris Brown says he couldn’t be prouder of the Youth Team after their FA Youth Cup run came to an end on Monday night.
Dale were seconds away from going through to the fourth round when Queens Park Rangers equalised in the 92nd minute, before the home side went on to 3-2 in extra time despite Dale retaking the lead.
Brown was delighted with the performance, attitude and application from the Youth Team players.
“We couldn’t be prouder,” said Brown.
“What they’ve given out on the pitch today, and in the previous rounds, was superb from all of them.
“We could have kept the ball a little bit better at times, but throughout the whole game, for 120 minutes, to score two goals at Loftus Road, we couldn’t prouder.
“They worked hard, the game plan went how we wanted it to go, and they put it in place.
“They’ve got to take massive credit out of tonight for the performances, all the way through from Morgan Piper to Florian Yonsian, and also the lads on the bench because it was a team effort and they all should be proud of themselves as well. How they’ve performed and applied themselves today was superb.
“It was a whirlwind end to the game, it was an unlucky way to go out, but that’s football.”
Dale more than matched their category two opponents throughout 120 minutes, leading twice and creating a number of chances that would have seen them through to the next stage.
“They’re a very, very good team [QPR]. We’ve watched a lot of footage on them and they’ve got some superb players. We knew it was going to be a difficult night.
“The boys had to be in fifth gear straight away and they were. We had a good start, played some really good football and ended up scoring. How we defended, pressed, won the ball back, countered, kept the ball the majority of the time, was really pleasing.
“Individually they’ve done well within what we’ve asked them to do. Fabio [Tavares] was a constant threat again, Lewis [Bradley] popped up in superb positions but maybe lacked that commitment to go and score, because some of his stuff was really good, like his work rate for the team.
“Louis White was superb today – that’s probably the best I’ve seen him play, he was brilliant in possession and out of possession. He probably got a bit tired towards the end but he still got stuck in and we couldn’t have asked for more from him.
“Morgan Piper was brilliant, Luke [Matheson], James [Neild], Juwon [Hamzat], Joe [Dunne] all had good games. They were all good. Collectively and individually it was really good and positive from them.
“They’ve got to take everything from that. I asked them not to leave anything in the changing room, leave it out on the pitch, have no regrets, and I don’t think they can.
“We’ve got some superb players and they’ve got to believe in themselves a little bit more, because when it’s a Saturday morning or a Tuesday afternoon and we’re not really at the races, we’ve got to remember this night, because they’re definitely capable of playing like that, against a really good team with good players and coaches.
“It was hard to defend their rotation at times but we came up with a plan and it worked for 116 minutes! Credit to them, all the best in the next round, and I hope they go on to be successful in the competition.”
Brown believes the experience of the previous two rounds, along with the opportunities given to youngsters in the Checkatrade Trophy, allowed the players to settle into the game and perform to their best.
“The two previous rounds have helped, but also a lot of the boys, through the manager, have had the opportunity to go and play in a big stadium under the lights, under pressure, so they’re more comfortable in that environment.
“We stepped out of our shell and hopefully they will go on to play in stadiums like this on a regular basis when winning matters. Our preparation helped as well with training at night, so I think everything together put us at an advantage.”
He now hopes they can take the positive from their performance into the remainder of the season, starting with their EFL Youth Alliance Cup visit to Mansfield Town on Saturday.
“It spurred us on last year. I would like there to be a positive response – it’s all down to the players.
“We’ll prepare exactly the same for the next game and take the positives out of tonight.
“We’ve got to pick our chins up, stick our chests out and go again because they’ve got to be proud of themselves.
“Hopefully against Mansfield we can put another good performance on like we did tonight and kick on again for the season.”
Watch the full interview with Brown on iFollow HERE.