Youth League reaction: Barry Lewtas on Porto win, practising pens and quarter-finals

AcademyYouth League reaction: Barry Lewtas on Porto win, practising pens and quarter-finals

By Steve Hunter


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Barry Lewtas hailed the character and spirit of his Liverpool U19s group after they came from a goal down to beat FC Porto and reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Youth League.

A contentious penalty award saw the Portuguese side take an eighth-minute lead in Wednesday’s tie as Jorge Meireles netted from the spot, after the referee had penalised Reds stopper Harvey Davies for his initial challenge with the opposition No.9.

A spirited second-half display led to the hosts drawing level when Ben Doak cut inside and his shot was deflected into the path of Melkamu Frauendorf, who made no mistake in front of goal.

The scores were level after 90 minutes and the tie went straight to a penalty shootout, with Lewtas’ charges prevailing 6-5, despite Doak hitting the post from his first kick.

Liverpool U19s will now face a trip to Lisbon in the last eight where they will face Sporting CP, with the fixture set to played during the week commencing March 13.

Read on as Lewtas reflects on the victory…

On the spirit and character shown by his players after going a goal down to such a controversial opener…

I think the penalty kind of knocked the stuffing out of us a little bit and that can happen in a game. We were quite clear in how we wanted the game to look and as the game went on we just became more and more dominant. Once we found our rhythm again, we were really pleased with them.

On his reaction when he saw a penalty had been awarded…

Listen, there is always frustration. I think sometimes it can happen. In the referee’s eyes, he thought it was a penalty. There’s always different opinions and it’s not the easiest job, I understand that, and you’ve just got to get on with it. It was disappointing because sometimes poor decisions can go against you, but in a real big game you never want decisions to go against you. You’ve got to move on from it and I felt we did that. But it did knock the stuffing out of the team a little bit and dented the confidence.

U19s highlights: LFC 1-1 Porto (6-5 on pens)

On his message to the players at half-time…

It’s the last 16 of a European competition, so we knew FC Porto were a good team, but we felt we made it really hard, especially out of possession. Credit to them, they pressed us well but we just sensed as the half was going on they didn’t look as sharp as they had during the early moments and were starting to go more direct. So, it was about us capitalising on that and making sure we moved the ball. We made a couple of little tweaks and I think, in the end, we could deal with their direct play and were also able to play through them.

On Frauendorf getting his rewards for a good display with a goal…

Mel has been a fixture in the team, and rightly so because he has been a fantastic performer for us this season. Playing off the side, he has also been really good at U21s level. I thought Mel and Ben were a real threat all game and I thought if we were going to score it was going to come from down the sides or in the pocket from Bobby Clark. I thought Mel’s performance deserved a goal.

On U18s full-backs Josh Davidson and Calum Scanlon making their European debuts for the club…

It was a big moment for them. Calum will be a bit disappointed about how the penalty came about when he lost the ball in our half but he responded well from that. I think he did ever so well, he grew into the game. Josh was the same. I thought he grew into the game and in the second half he had more belief and more confidence in his performance, and attacked down that right side really well with Ben.

On creating some great chances to win it in normal time…

Definitely, I thought we were the team in the ascendancy and were pushing. We had to be careful not to leave ourselves too open because they countered well, but I think the boys got the feeling we were on top and that we could create something to score. We certainly tried our best and had some good chances to score.

On emulating the first team from last season by winning on penalties…

It’s part of the competition and it’s a pressure situation. Our boys do practise penalties as part of their development, using their ability to strike the ball well and also take quality set-pieces. I thought the penalties were really good and, in the end, we edged it.

On the quarter-final tie away to Sporting CP…

It’s going to be a nice trip and we are really looking forward to it, but we go there to try to give it our best shot of reaching the semi-finals. We certainly understand the size of the task ahead of us. They are a strong team who have had some good results – but then so have we. We know our team that started against FC Porto was very different to the one that started the group stage, so it’s an opportunity for this group now to go over there and really put in a good performance which will hopefully get us through to the final four. We know how big the challenge will be but we will certainly be giving it our best.



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.