Notts County academy manager Mick Halsall has given his thoughts following last night’s FA Youth Cup defeat against Romulus.The young Magpies were beaten 3-1 at Meadow Lane, exiting the competition at the first-round stage.
Halsall said: "We are all very disappointed with our performance last night. The Youth Cup is an opportunity for our young players to showcase themselves in front of our supporters and to provide evidence that we have some good young players coming through the academy here at Notts.
"However last night this was not evident as Romulus gave a very good account of themselves and deservedly went through to the next round.
"It was a performance that certainly surprised me as the academy manager. The players have had a good season up until now in the league and seemed to be playing with a lot of confidence.
“But with young players you don't know what you're going to get. Sometimes, for one reason or another, performances fall below par and it just does not fall into place for them in games of importance. I, however, firmly believe that, as a player, if you want to make it happen, it does.
"It takes so much to progress to a professional level but I am seeing more often now that a lot of today's young players don’t know how to as they don’t have that extra bit to get there.
“No-one gives you anything in football, you have to earn it, and I have emphasised on so many occasions to players it is about how much you put in - how dedicated you are to getting yourself over the line.
"After the game I could see what the defeat and level of performance meant to a few of our players. One or two of them will feel embarrassed and down, but it is those players, if they apply themselves properly between now and the end of the season, who may come through.
"We now have to get on with the task of rebuilding the players’ confidence, making sure those one or two players from last night get an opportunity to come through. It is going to be hard, but this is when you see the characters and players that have that extra bit.
“Yes, it is very disappointing both to go out of the cup and for the team to perform the way they did, however it is our responsibility to get the players through this to help them reach the ultimate goal of playing for the first team. We will set about doing that from today onwards.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came down to support the team last night - it is hugely appreciated by us all and I'm sorry we couldn't deliver the result we all wanted."