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Duff Pleased With Cup Spirit

Under-23s boss praises young side after exit to PL Cup holders

26 February 2018

Michael Duff was disappointed to exit the Premier League Cup – but proud that his team went down fighting.

In a tough first season of competitive football for the Clarets’ under-23s, the cup competition has provided a shaft of light.

But ultimately a 1-0 home defeat to holders Swansea was enough to end Burnley’s interest as they missed out on the point needed to pip the Swans to second place in Group D and advance to the last 16.

“We've just fallen at the last hurdle, but there'll be other opportunities I'm sure and they will learn from it,” said Duff, whose young side pushed the Premier League 2 top-flight side all the way.

“Swansea are a technical team and we've managed to get about them and take them out of their comfort zone.

“We had five under-18s playing in the game and some of them did really well. You don't want to get beat, but Swansea won that competition with that team, they're a lot older, and we were the width of the woodwork from going through.”

Kenji Gorre scored the decisive goal nine minutes before half-time as Swansea avenged their home defeat to go through to the knock-out stages with group winners Newcastle United.

But the Clarets – who had to pick a side allowing for players to be available to first-team manager Sean Dyche for a mid-week bounce game - gave them a real fright, with Ntumba Massanka striking the underside of the bar late on. 

"It was a lot more positive than it has been in recent weeks,” added Duff, whose side has now lost its last five games.

“I thought we were excellent. It was a completely different team with the game tomorrow, so we were probably six or seven short of where we were, but I thought the lads were excellent.

"We've asked them to play a slightly different way. We were more direct today, a bit more compact, and they delivered it well, considering they've only had a day to work on it and it was a difficult pitch.

"They're a good team and I thought we'd made them look pretty ordinary.”


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