Manager reviews semi-final loss
Eamonn Dolan has dubbed the last minute FA Youth Cup semi-final defeat to Fulham as a “cruel lesson” to the club’s youngsters – but has urged his players to focus on building their careers in the game.
The Royals played with ten men for an hour against the Premier League Academy Champions, but remarkably fought back to take a 2-1 lead in the second half – only for a fortuitous deflection to seal a Cottagers comeback and a 3-2 victory for the home side.
“That’s football, it’s a cruel lesson for the boys,” said Reading’s Academy manager.
“I’m never proud when we lose because this is professional football, we don’t want to be patronised because our job is to win, however winning is one thing, but wanting to win is very important. Our boys wanted to win tonight. Fulham are a good side but I thought in both games we probably shaded it and a bit of luck was epitomised by the deflection - along with some harsh decisions.
“When we lost before at Liverpool in the Youth Cup a few years ago, I knew players would go on and have really good careers. It’s the same tonight – hopefully the manager will have seen some positive stuff again. We don’t want to be defined by the Youth Cup – nobody remembers who plays in the Youth Cup unless they make it in the Premier League.”
Whilst crediting an exceptionally talented Fulham side for their victory, Dolan was also keen to praise his own staff for their work throughout the season.
“Credit to Fulham, I’m pleased for them – I like their coaching staff and respect them, I think they do a great job and good luck to them. We’re all disappointed, no more so than me. I’ve known a lot of those boys since the age of nine. But we’re honoured to have somebody like David Dodds here, a magnificent man and magnificent coach. He’s been assisted fantastically by the likes of Michael Gilkes, Martin Kuhl and Lee Herron.”