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Llera: "We have to be proud of them."

17 December 2017

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Academy coach Miguel Llera declared himself proud of his team’s efforts despite the Youth Team exiting the FA Youth Cup at the third round stage on Friday night.

The young Spireites went down 2-0 to Swansea City at Landore Training Ground, but gave a spirited performance in South Wales.

Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Llera said: “When you lose you feel disappointed, but we were in the game and competing against a category one academy team for more or less the whole 90 minutes.

“They were two different halves, in the first they were the better side and I think that too many of the kids were nervous at the beginning, but in the second half we were much better.

“I felt that we were the better side, it was disappointing how we conceded the second goal but at the end of the day I can’t say nothing to the players because they gave everything that they had and we have to be proud of them.”

Llera’s team had to deal with a somewhat disrupted preparation in the lead up to game and as a result included several members of the club’s U16s in their matchday squad.

The Spaniard also had to do without the injured Marshall Willock and the unavailability of Irish duo Dylan Hand and Conor Fowler.

However, Llera looked back on a cup campaign which saw them produce good performances in the first two rounds over Notts County and Port Vale – both of which came at the Proact.

He said: “I think that from my point of view, we’ve had some good individual performances.
“It’s a really young team and tonight we finished the game with four U16 players and the rest of the players were first year scholars.

“During the last 10 days we’ve only been training with nine players to prepare for the game because of the weather, injuries and some players have left the programme.

“Plus we can’t train with the U16s as they are still in school, so there were too many disadvantages, so I can’t fault the players, they’ve given me everything that they have.”

Many of the squad who featured against the Swans will be involved in Tuesday’s Derbyshire Senior Cup tie with Heanor Town at the Proact (7.45pm).

The fixture will bring to an end to what has been a successful few months for Llera and his team who’ve won seven out of their last 10 matches in all competitions.

And Llera’s challenged his side to finish 2017 in style, while also looking forward to the second half of the season.

“I think it’s been really positive, we’ve had a good run and we’ve done a lot of very good things,” he added.

“A lot of things will change going forward, we’ll be working more with the U16s and we’ll be planning on playing them more because they deserve to be with us.

“I’m now looking forward to Tuesday’s game and it’s a great chance for the lads to impress the first team manager at the Proact Stadium and finish off the year with a good performance.”

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