‘We were fearful’ - City’s academy chief on Manchester United cup defeat
PUBLISHED: 11:25 22 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:25 22 January 2020
Norwich City’s Under-18s were guilty of ‘playing the occasion’ during their FA Youth Cup defeat to Manchester United, according to academy manager Steve Weaver.
City were beaten 2-0 by the Red Devils, with both goals coming from second-half set-pieces.
United controlled proceedings throughout, and Weaver admits his side displayed fear in the match.
"We didn't come out," Weaver said.
"We played the occasion and not the game, we spoke about it and we haven't been in fear of anyone for a while. They walk out and all of a sudden, they see a crowd and it affects them because they aren't used to it.
"You don't know about anything until that happens. They just froze and I was worried after 20 minutes that if that continued then it could've become a really long night for us. We got in the game and at half-time I thought we'd push on and get into the game, but we never got a chance.
"We've learnt a lot tonight and we'll continue to learn a lot about them, but we only learn when we play these games."
United were awarded a penalty moments after the interval when Andrew Omobamidele conceded a penalty after hand-balling Mark Helm's free-kick.
Charlie McCann dispatched to give the visitors the lead. Defender Teden Mengi headed home the second goal to ensure United did progress through to the fifth round.
Despite the defeat, Weaver is hoping his youngsters will use the experience to learn from as they continue their development.
"The good thing is that they haven't been through a lot of these experiences. Next time they play in a stadium, then they have something to recall. We got 3000 in here tonight and that's bigger than some League Two attendances.
"It's about learning - it doesn't matter if we don't win this trophy but it does matter that they're playing in a first team by the time they end their time with us," Weaver explained.
"They'll learn from some of the setbacks and tonight is the first time they've played in front of a crowd. It's a nice learning curve."