Blackpool’s extraordinary run to the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup ended at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium but coach John Murphy spoke of his pride at his players’ achievements.
READ MORE: Arsenal end Blackpool's fairytale cup run
The young Seasiders were beaten 5-0 in London last night and 7-2 on aggregate .
Murphy said: “We’re obviously disappointed but there’s no shame in being beaten 5-0 by Arsenal. It was thoroughly deserved on their part and they had some really good talent on show.
“The disappointing thing is that we didn’t do what we’ve been doing in the previous seven games, when we also played against teams with good players.
“We let Arsenal play and that’s what was disappointing. 5-0 doesn’t flatter them.
“We haven’t really tested their goalkeeper at all, which again is disappointing.
“But I’ve gone into the dressing room and said, ‘Listen, your achievements far outweigh what happened out on that pitch’. That was always going to be the case.
“I’ve also said to the players, ‘If you let good players play they’ll hurt you’. That’s what happened. I’d have liked a better performance in terms of competitiveness.”
The damage was done in the first half as Arsenal raced into a 4-0 lead.
The Seadsiders did a good job of damage limitation in the second half, despite having Jack Newton sent off with 20 minutes left, as they prevented the Gunners adding a fifth until stoppage time.
Murphy added: “We got a bit of pride back in the second half. I was so disappointed when the fifth went in because we could have clutched at straws and said we drew the second half.
“I’m not saying we deserved that but they missed some chances and showed some nice patterns of play.
“It sounds strange but I’ve never been so congratulatory to a player who’s been sent off – I thought Jack was excellent.
“He plays on the edge and I didn’t even realise he had been booked. When he got the second yellow, I thought to myself, ‘When did he get the first booking?’
“But he puts himself in those situations. He tries, he works hard and I thought he was excellent.
“But we go down to 10 men and you’re thinking to yourself how difficult it is going to be. Did they take their foot off the pedal? Maybe.
“But looking at the bigger picture, we shouldn’t even be here by rights.”