PROUD coach Terry Pashley admitted there was no disgrace in defeat as his battling Clarets fell just short in the FA Youth Cup semi-final against Blackburn Rovers.
Trailing 1-0 from last Thursday’s first leg at Ewood Park, Burnley looked to turn things around in front of a crowd of 10,556.
But a 2-1 defeat on the night means Rovers go through to face Chelsea or Manchester United in the two-legged final.
Hugo Fernandez gave Blackburn the lead on the night, producing a precise finish after Osayamen Osawe’s tame shot took a deflection off Alex Coleman and fell nicely for the forward.
And moments later a mountain became steeper still when Ryan Edwards - who looks capable of following in Phil Jones’ footsteps - fired in a 30-yard free kick that Josh Cook misjudged.
Steve Hewitt’s late penalty gave the Clarets a flicker of hope, but it proved a mere consolation, and Pashley said: “We just came up short in the end – not for the want of trying but we got beat off a good side, and as I said to the boys there’s no disgrace in that.
“We did our best, and it’s been a good journey. It’s been a good education for them.
“It’s their efforts and their ability that got us this far. They’ve got nothing to be down about.
“We won’t allow them to be.
“We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to deal with it.
“It’s been great, and we wouldn’t change it.
“We’d probably like to change a little bit of Wednesday night, but over the games we wouldn’t change it, we’ve really enjoyed it.”
While Rovers look a quality side capable of winning the competition, there was little in either game, as Pashley lamented: “One goal I thought got a little deflection and fell kindly, unfortunately the second one’s just a basic error.
“You’ve got to get three at that stage, and that is a big ask.
“But Stevie showed composure and put his penalty away well.
“We’ve had a few little chances – nothing clear-cut. I don’t think we’ve had a real clear-cut chance over the 180 minutes. They’re a good side, and from what I’ve seen I think they have a very good chance of going on and winning it.”
The disappointment of missing out is part of the learning experience, however, and Pashley added: “We’ve never been in this situation before.
“But we’ve tasted both sides, the elation down at Fulham and the disappointment and it’s something we’ve got to learn to deal with.
“We’ve got to get over the disappointment very quickly because when the next game comes along we’ve got to be ready for it.
“That is a good learning experience for them. It will be interesting to see how they go on this morning.
“They had to go to college on Thursday, which is another blow for them because they won’t want to be there, but they’ve got to go.
“We’ll see how they react when we’re back in training.
“But they’ve come into the football club to be footballers.
“You’ve got to deal with the emotions and get over it. They’re good lads and I’m sure they will.”
There could still be silverware in the cabinet, however, as they chase the league title, and Pashley knows the side still have a job to do: “We have. We’ve got another game on Saturday, even though probably some of them won’t play.
“We’ve got another reserve game next Wednesday. And I think we’ve got Saturday-midweek games from now to the end of April.
“It will be a case of resting a few of them because the squad’s not the biggest, and neither is the reserve squad.”
The end game is producing young players for the first team, not necessarily winning trophies, however, and he hopes to lose some to the senior squad: “That should pick them up if there are a few who get the call to go to Portsmouth.”