John Murphy has called on Blackpool’s inspirational youngsters to use their Emirates disappointment as motivation for the future.
READ MORE: Blackpool's fairytale FA Youth Cup dream ended by Arsenal
The youth team’s extraordinary FA Youth Cup run came to an end at the semi-final stage on Monday night when they were beaten 5-0 by Arsenal – 7-2 on aggregate.
While it wasn’t the dream night they had been hoping and praying for, Murphy was at pains to emphasise the defeat didn’t outweigh the achievement of reaching the last four.
During that run, his young charges won five games away from home and beat three clubs with category one academies – the highest status.
That allowed them to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Emirates Stadium, which should only serve to spur them on for the future according to Blackpool’s academy chief.
“It’s difficult because they’re disappointed in there, lads are in tears and that shows me it hurts them,” Murphy said.
“It’s tricky to tell players they’ve done well after losing 5-0.
“I’m trying to tell them ‘well done’ when they’re disappointed, it’s a bit of a contradiction in terms.
“But look at the stadium. These players might never play in a stadium like this again.
“So I’ve just said to the players: ‘this is your goal and this is what you should aim for.’
“If you play here, and other stadiums like this, that means you’re doing something right. That means you’ve reached your dream. So use this experience as motivation.
“Playing in a stadium like this, even if it’s half full, just imagine how good that will be week in week out.
“I was lucky to play in a couple of stadiums like this, not every week because most of the time it was in front of 3,000 or 4,000, but every now and then we had a cup run and you get a good cup draw and you play at good places like this.
“Imagine earning £150,000 a week and playing at somewhere like this every week. What’s all that about? It’s lottery stuff.
“So I’ve told the players to use this experience because it might be the best thing they ever do in football.
“If they’re not fortunate enough to make it, well they’ve done this. Not everyone can say that.
“It’s been a fabulous achievement and a momentous effort.
“Yes I’d have liked us to go out with a slightly less lower scoreline, but we’re talking about Arsenal here. We’re talking about billions.
“This can only benefit these players.
“They feel awful and it’s good they feel like that, because you should do when you’re disappointed.
“But the experience it will give them will be priceless.”