Steven Gerrard’s Under 19s suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the UEFA Youth League quarterfinals. The team, which had played out a 1-1 draw over the 90 minutes, eventually lost to Manchester City 3-2 on penalties.
At full-time, despite the disheartening result, Gerrard insisted he was not disappointed with the team’s performance.
“I’m not disappointed because I’m very proud of the performance,” Gerrard said. ”I thought the lads were very, very good within the 90 and I thought they at least deserved a draw, which is what we got.
”We could have snatched it at the very end, we had a good chance through George [Johnston], so no disappointment. Of course, [it’s] a cruel way to go out, but football is cruel, especially when you go further on into tournaments because you get to the stage where it’s a penalty shootout situation. I’m gutted for the lads because it’s been a fantastic journey and one that they’ll benefit a lot from - I certainly will.”
As for what this loss will do for the youngsters’ mentality going forward, Gerrard is positive.
“That sort of helps me, how I’m feeling now, it lifts me. I know we’ve got players who care about the club and care about the badge and they wanted this tournament, no doubt. If we’d got over the line and scraped through today I had every confidence we could go all the way to the final.
”Now, it’s just best wishes to Man City, but nobody should walk out of this stadium with their head down. They should be really proud of their efforts because they’ve got to judge themselves on the whole journey, not just the penalty shootout.”
While they’ve fallen out of that competition, there’s still more games to play this season as the team looks for finish on a high note.