UEFA Youth League reaction: 'The lads gave it absolutely everything'

AcademyUEFA Youth League reaction: 'The lads gave it absolutely everything'

By Steve Hunter


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Barry Lewtas spoke of his pride in his Liverpool U19s team after they contentiously lost 1-0 to Sporting CP in the UEFA Youth League.

Rodrigo Ribeiro struck the only goal of Tuesday's quarter-final in Lisbon in the 65th minute, but the Reds were left aggrieved as they claimed Lee Jonas was obstructed in the build-up just outside the box.

Going into the tie without leading scorer Oakley Cannonier due to injury and the suspended Lewis Koumas, the visitors then lost Ben Doak after only eight minutes when he was forced off the field with a head injury.

Melkamu Frauendorf, Luca Stephenson and Keyrol Figureoa all went close in the second half for Liverpool but an equaliser eluded them.

Post-match, Lewtas spoke to Liverpoolfc.com to reflect on the defeat by Sporting and the overall feeling about competing in the Youth League this season…

Liverpool eliminated from UEFA Youth League after Sporting defeat

Match reportLiverpool eliminated from UEFA Youth League after Sporting defeatLiverpool U19s were eliminated from the UEFA Youth League on Tuesday afternoon following a 1-0 defeat away at Sporting CP.

On the narrow quarter-final defeat…

I couldn't be prouder of the lads. They gave it absolutely everything, they are gutted, but it wasn't to be. It was disappointing to lose, especially to the goal that has decided it. I think the decision is quite clear but it is what it is.

On Doak's condition after being forced off the field with a head injury…

Ben is OK. He obviously couldn't continue but our medical staff got to him quickly. He was on the pitch at the end with the lads and we will keep him closely monitored.

On the overall experience of competing in the Youth League once again…

I think it has been brilliant. Reflecting on it, going into this game with Sporting I think we have deserved to win every game we have played. Some of the football we have played, we have been really attacking and scored goals. When players have gone on loan and been injured, the next person has stepped up and done ever so well. I'm really proud of the journey that we have been on this season, to be fair, how the players have played and the manner of how we have gone about it and dealt with setbacks. I think it has been a fantastic experience but it's just a real niggle to end the way it kind of ended for us today.

On young players coming in and getting their opportunity with players going out on loan and key performers out injured…

We have been without the likes of Isaac [Mabaya] and Oakley who are injured but you look at how well Calum Scanlon and Josh Davidson did at full-back again today. If Isaac and Chambo [Luke Chambers] had been in then maybe they wouldn't have had that opportunity, so I think this competition has given an opportunity. That's what we are here for and we want to try to do that, and obviously Ben having to go off gave an opportunity to Ranel Young and then Keyrol Figueroa. We've just failed to get over that last hurdle, but we've been able to use so many players in this tournament and the way they have all stepped up has been a real credit to them.

On how much he has enjoyed leading the group once again in Europe…

As a coach it's a great privilege to be in charge of the team, first and foremost. It's a huge responsibility and a great privilege. It's also a great opportunity for us as coaching staff to come out here and compete against one of the best U19 teams in Europe. I've enjoyed every season in Europe but I just felt this season, especially with the amount of players that we have used, there was more opportunity for these young lads. They really have thrived and they did well again today, so that has been a real plus.



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