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'We Set The Benchmark'

Michael Duff demands more of the same after battling cup defeat

5 September 2017

Michael Duff said his young players had ‘set the benchmark’ after going down with all guns blazing against Preston in the Lancashire Senior Cup.

Burnley were beaten 3-2 at North End’s Springfield training ground to exit at the first-round stage.

But they did so with heads held high after extending a Preston side packed with Football League experience.

“They have set the benchmark now. That’s what we expect every game. That’s the acid test,” said Development Squad boss Duff.

“They had a lot of game knowledge in their team and at times we were a bit naïve at certain things.

“But that’s part of their development. It’s not just all about rolling the ball about in Academy football, which can be false.

“That was a proper game of football and they were quite complimentary about our lads afterwards, which is good.”

The Clarets fielded what was close to an under-19 side, while Preston, watched by first-team boss Alex Neil, had close to 2,500 first-team appearances spread across their starting line-up.

At times that showed, as the home side enjoyed periods of domination and created a number of chances to add to their tally.

But the Clarets stuck to their task, going in at the break 3-2 down following goals by Jamie Thomas and Khius Metz, before threatening to force a penalty shoot-out when Tinashe Chakwana struck a post in the second half and also looked to be bundled over in the penalty area.

Duff added: “They were very strong really and probably stronger than we thought.

“They have used that as an opportunity to maybe play a couple of lads coming back from injury and some of the lads who are in and around the first team.

“If you add up their league appearances it would be a lot, so it was a good test for our lads and I thought we were unlucky.

“We weathered the storm at the start of the second half and grew into the game towards the end.

“All we can ask of our lads is to leave everything out on the pitch and they did that.

“At 3-2 we’ve hit the post and had a stonewall penalty turned down, so I can’t ask for any more.”

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