Walsall Academy Manager Miguel Llera was proud of his team after Monday’s FA Youth Cup tie against Port Vale at the Banks’s Stadium.
The Saddlers battled to a 1-1 draw despite having 10-men from the 29th minute.
The hosts took the game to extra-time and then penalties but Vale progressed with a 3-0 triumph in the shootout.
Llera admitted it was a tough one to take for his player and felt his team deserved more for their efforts.
“Football is cruel at times,” he said.
“I think we deserved more. I am proud of them because they gave everything that they have. They gave me what I was expecting from them, 200 per cent and everything they have, they gave on the pitch.
“The number of minutes we played with 10 men, it’s tough to see them cry, it’s tough to see them upset but we’re in an education environment and it’s part of developing.
“I saw them enjoy defending, enjoy tackling and giving everything that they have and that’s what we expect from a Walsall player.
“We’re a professional academy where it’s an educational environment. They learned resilience and it’s a word everybody talks about. It’s a tough moment for them but they need to take on board a lot of the positives that they did into the next game.”
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