Michael Jolley admits his young Burnley line-up were beaten by a better side as Blackburn Rovers completed a derby win double in the Under-23 Premier League Cup.
Former Celtic and Sunderland striker Anthony Stokes scored twice and captain Matthew Platt also headed a double as Burnley conceded four times after the break to lose 4-0 at the Globe Arena.
But Jolley (above) felt the scoreline was harsh on his side – who had first-half chances for Dan Agyei and George Green - and called on them to learn lessons from a second defeat in the group stage of the competition.
The Clarets’ Development Squad coach said: “I thought in the first half we edged the game and were slightly the better team.
“We had some chances to get the first goal and the first goal is really important.
“We didn’t pick up Stokes from a corner early in the second half and the momentum swung towards Blackburn after that.
“Fair play to them, they deserved to win second half with their performance but small details can make a big difference and if we get the first goal in the first half I think it’s a different game.”
George Green came closest to scoring for the Clarets
Burnley included two youth-team players in their side, with defenders James Clarke and Oliver Younger stepping up from the under-18s.
“There were some positive aspects with the younger players playing, like James Clarke and Olly,” Jolley added.
“I think the scoreline is a little bit harsh on us but that’s the way it is in competitive football and the lads have to learn that really quickly.
“The Blackburn team showed their quality in the second half and took the game away from us and some of our younger players struggled to cope with that.
“We’ve got to try and learn from it, they’ve got to try and learn from it and improve and keep growing.
“That’s ultimately what this is all about. As much as we want to win, it’s about helping the young players to improve, so that ultimately they can go into our first team or a first team elsewhere and have a career.”
Burnley remain third in Group B, three points behind Blackburn and four adrift of Sunderland with games to go against the Black Cats and Cardiff City as they try to gain a top-two finish and a place in the last 16.
“We’ve got the last two games to look forward to now. It makes it really clear for us,” said Jolley.
“We’ve got to try and win them both. That maybe a blessing. We know what we’ve got to do and we’ll see what we’ve got in terms of players for those games.”