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Jolley Delighted To Go Out With A Bang

27 February 2017

Development Squad coach Michael Jolley was delighted with his side as the Clarets came of age in the Premier League Cup with a 5-3 beating of Sunderland.

The victory at Stockport County's Edgeley Park came too late to keep alive Burnley's qualification chances following defeat in their penultimate Group B game at Cardiff.

But handing Sunderland their first defeat of the competition was an encouraging way to sign off for Jolley's side, who came from 2-1 to overcome a side which plays in Premier League 2 and is in the last four of the European under-23 competition thanks to two goals from Dan Agyei (above), a Jimmy Dunne header and second-half strikes from Arlen Birch and a trialist.

"It’s frustrating because we had so many chances to win the game at Cardiff and after today’s game you think ‘what if?’" said Jolley.

"The bigger picture is that it’s about producing players and our performances are improving, and that is ultimately the main thing.

"As disappointing as it is to not get the result down there I think we’re moving forward.

"I’ve been saying for a while we’ve been improving and we’ve not always been able to convert that into results, but I think you saw today we’re definitely moving forward.

"Some of the young players produced excellent performances and that helped us produce a really good team performance.

"To beat a Category 1 team like Sunderland is a good sign of the progress we’re making.

"They’re a good side. They’ve got lads who’ve been on the fringes of the first team, so for our lads it’s a good marker and a good barometer for how far we think we’ve come.

"But it's only one game and we’ve got to keep working hard to get players into our first team or out on loan playing Football League games."

The Clarets battled through a couple of qualification rounds to reach the group stages of the PL Cup, where they took on Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff City in their first outing in the competition.

And Jolley is looking forward to playing similar sides on a more regular basis next season to aid the Clarets' development.

"We hope to have a full league programme next season at Category 2 and hopefully have this as an add-on," he added.

"There’s no doubt these games have really helped us, pitting our wits against two Category 1 teams and a Category 2 team.

"It’s been a good yardstick for us to see how far away we are and I don’t think we’re too far away.

"At under-23 level it’s a challenge because your team is constantly changing, but overall we’ve equipped ourselves pretty well and some of the individuals are definitely improving, which is ultimately what we’re here for."

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