Rangers youth coach Graeme Murty has urged his young players to learn from their UEFA Youth League defeat to Atletico Madrid.
The Gers U19s were beaten 4-0 in a one-off tie at Firhill on Wednesday afternoon, eliminating them from the competition.
Manuel Lama Maroto put the visitors in front with a scrappy early goal but it was a tight first half, with the likes of Kai Kennedy, Dapo Mebude and Nathan Patterson testing the opposition defence.
When Atletico doubled their advantage shortly after the interval, though, Rangers began piling bodies forward and were ultimately picked apart on the counterattack.
Speaking after the game, Murty had nothing but praise for the opposition and urged his charges to learn from the experience.
“The scoreline at the end, that came from us chasing the game because we were desperate to get back in it and there was a little bit of naivety from our young players,” he said. “That left us a little too open against a team who were very very ruthless and very good in their method of play.”
“I thought they were very slick and very professional. Some of their players were individually outstanding and it’s a fantastic lesson for our players. If that’s the level we aspire to be at, that’s how we have to go and operate.
“I thought their work off the ball, in particular, was of a very very high standard. We’ve got a group of young players in there who are down – they’re disappointed and rightly so – but, they have to learn from this and make sure they understand the reasons behind it and not get too caught up in the emotions of what has just happened.”
Murty also had praise for the competition itself, which he described as ‘phenomenal.’
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed pitching our players out against some of the best players in Europe,” he continued. “To be against a team like that, to see how they operate, to see the ruthlessness and the sheer clinical nature of top top players, was great.”
“Let’s be candid, we get lots of success in Scotland and we can afford to be profligate with our chances, we can afford to be a little bit slack in our practices, but we keep reiterating that they need to extend, they need to push.
“When we turned the ball over, at times, through a lack of quality, we got punished and we can’t buy that kind of lesson for our players.”