AcademyLewtas U21s reaction: The lads gave everything - it just wasn't our day
Barry Lewtas felt his Liverpool U21s side were unfortunate to lose their opening game of 2023 against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The Reds were edged out 2-0 in Premier League 2 action, with first team manager Jürgen Klopp watching on at the Academy.
Lewtas' outfit were reduced to 10 men after just 23 minutes, with Calvin Ramsay shown a straight red card after match officials deemed the full-back to have halted a clear goalscoring opportunity.
The away side then went in front on the stroke of half-time amid offside protests from the Liverpool bench, before Spurs added to the scoreline late in the second period - with Harvey Blair's complaints of a foul in the build-up waved away.
Bobby Clark hit the post during a battling second half display, though the Reds were unable to find an all-important breakthrough.
Lewtas’ charges will now regroup and begin preparations for Wednesday's home clash with Paris Saint-Germain in the group stage of the Premier League International Cup (7pm GMT).
Read on as the U21s head coach reflects on the loss to Spurs and more…
On the overall performance from his team…
Listen, it was always going to be a tough game 11 versus 11, but I thought we started the game really well. We knew quite quickly where they wanted to catch us on the counter, especially down their left side. That’s what caused the sending-off really and then to go down to 10 men made it difficult. It was a real sucker punch to concede just before the break and it was a borderline close call offside decision.
We tried to find solutions and at half-time we were able to regroup. I thought we were brilliant in the second half. I thought we really contained them, we knew what we wanted to do and we were good with the ball. We were so keen to press and run and we showed a great maturity in our play and I thought we were in control actually even with 10 men, but that’s the way it goes.
On Ramsay's early sending off…
Their lad is through on goal, there is a little coming together. I’ve got to be honest, if it was the other way I’d probably be expecting it. It’s a little bit unfortunate for Calvin in that particular moment. I’m not too sure about the red card though. I just felt there was a lot of inconsistencies in the game really and their second goal was part of that as well. It is what it is and maybe it just wasn’t our day all round.
On midfielder Luca Stephenson’s impressive appearance from the bench in the second half…
We just said that in the dressing room to the boys. Sometimes when you are on the bench, and you’ve not been picked, and then to come on with only 10 men - it’s tough. I thought he was brilliant. Luca, Jake Cain and Harvey Blair really gave us something. I’m really disappointed we lost the game but I thought we were excellent. I think the bigger picture is when you do so well before Christmas you come back and you are thinking, 'Can we pick it up where we left off?' Result wise we haven’t, but when we reflect back our our overall performance we should win more games than we lose.
On a busy week ahead against PSG in Europe and Manchester United in Premier League 2…
It’s an exciting challenge for the players and staff. We’ll see who is available and we have a very clear way of how we want to do things. We can’t moan about the level of the games we’ve got coming up and we are looking forward to it. We are a little bit sore after this unfortunate defeat but we will be ready to go again.