Rory Delap felt that his and Justin Walker’s Under-18s side were not clinical enough after they were eliminated from the FA Youth Cup following a 4-2 defeat against Norwich City.
The visitors took the lead twice in the first half during the Fourth Round tie at Carrow Road, with Morgan Whittaker’s finish and an Alfie Payne own goal either side of Alan Fleming’s goal giving the Rams a 2-1 lead at half time.
Bilal Kamal’s second half penalty sent the game into extra time, where goals from Timi Odusina and Anthony Spyrou sent Norwich into the Fifth Round.
Derby had several chances to secure the victory, particularly in the second half and Delap described how his side should have shown more in the final third.
He told dcfc.co.uk: “I can’t question their attitude or work rate, but we have got to show more than just that, that’s the bare minimum.
“They are in the building because they are talented players and they can play under pressure and we just didn’t have that quality in the final third tonight to put the game beyond doubt when we were 2-1 up.
“You rely on your front players when you need to score goals and get back into games and they have got to be more clinical than they have been lately.
“Norwich probably had five good chances and scored four goals. At the end of the day, they were more clinical and they deserved to win.”
Derby came very close to securing a place in the Fifth Round when Cameron Cresswell earned the visitors a penalty in the 15th minute of second half stoppage time, but defender Jayden Bogle’s spot kick was saved by Canaries goalkeeper Ryan Dickerson.
Delap felt that Bogle responded in the right way, but they still had enough chances and should have sealed a place in the Round of 16.
“He has got to get his head around it very quickly because things happen like that in football”, added Delap.
“You miss chances, you miss penalties, you miss really good opportunities, you make mistakes that lead to goals but you have got to get over it and really quickly and I thought he did to be fair.
“He is desperately upset in there but even the penalty aside, we had enough decent chances to finish them off.”
The Rams will return to Premier League – North action on Saturday 20th of January, where they will take on Sunderland at the Training Centre in partnership with the University of Derby.
Back-to-back defeats for the Under 18s and several players from the Under 23s recently departing the club on loan spells mean that it is the perfect time for Delap’s and Walker’s side to show their character, according to Delap.
He said: “That’s the thing with football, no matter what level it is at there is always another game coming and they’ve got to quickly get over the disappointment of tonight and get on it with it.
“There are lads fighting for professional contracts, there are lads getting into the (Under) 23s, there are lads pushing to get into the (Under) 18s team and they have got really good opportunities now.
“There is space opened up with lads going on loan so they have got to quickly get over tonight, get their heads around and start performing on the pitch.”
Words by Jonty Colman