Andy Farrell was very satisfied with the effort put in by his players after Burnley were knocked out of the under-21 Premier League Cup at the semi-final stage.
The young Clarets were beaten 3-2 at Leigh Sports Village by Manchester City who will now face Reading in a two-legged final of the competition’s inaugural edition.
Burnley had twice come from behind thanks to goals from Cameron Dummigan and Jason Gilchrist before Sinan Bytyqi’s 75th-minute winner sent the Blues into the deciding round of the Cup.
However, the Clarets under-21 manager felt his team had given a good account of themselves against a strong Manchester City side – an opinion echoed by his opposite number Patrick Vieira.
Farrell said: “I am pleased with the effort. The lads worked really, really hard against a quality team.
“Patrick Vieira said as we came off that it was definitely the hardest game they’ve had this year.
“That’s a compliment in itself coming from someone like himself.
“Out of possession, as the gaffer [Sean Dyche] would put it, we were relentless in terms of pressing, closing down, never giving them a second on the ball.
“I think they were much the same when we had the ball.
“Possibly, at times, we could have shown a bit more belief in ourselves when we actually got it. I don’t think we played as well as we can do.
“The boys can probably move the ball a little bit better, but in terms of what you’re playing against, I think they had a really good go and were good collectively.”
Burnley had previously got the better of Wigan Athletic, Crewe Alexandra, Sunderland, Bolton Wanderers and Exeter City on the way to the semi-final of the debut edition of the under-21 Premier League Cup.
And Farrell believes the competition has proved a good learning curve for his players – one that will contribute towards their development.
He added: “It’s competitive. It’s all right having friendlies, but this is a proper competition and there’s something to play for.
“I had this group of lads in the youth team with Pash [Terry Pashley] and they are now much about the same in terms of how they prepare. They’re no different.
“The way they go about things, they’re very well organised, they organise each other and they’re focused. There’s determination about them.
“This is a very good group and they will make players somewhere.
“Hopefully it will be here.”