Derby County Under-18s boss Justin Walker hopes his side will remain positive after losing for just the second time in 11 matches at Manchester City this afternoon.

The only goal of the game came from the penalty spot as Cole Palmer dispatched coolly to secure all three points for Under-18 Premier League - North table-toppers City.

The Rams head coach was disappointed with the way his side performed as they struggled to break down their opponents’ stubborn backline.

He said: “It was a tough one. I don’t think either team really produced much quality in and around the attacking areas.

“It was frustrating to concede such a poor goal after working so hard to nullify their threats. We lost a bit of control in our own box and gave away a penalty but I’m sure we’ll learn from it going forward.

“Our performance was below par. I see that as a measure of how far we’ve come though. To come to Man City, who have thrashed a number of teams this season, and be disappointed to have lost 1-0 shows how much we’ve improved since the beginning of the season.”

The defeat is just the Under-18s’ second since September. Walker praised his players’ effort over the course of the run which saw them win eight out of ten matches.

“The lads have put in a huge amount of work and effort. It’s been a brilliant exercise for them to play three game weeks continuously and to keep turning out performances. There are so many positives to take from the last group of games.”

He added: “We’re not going to go over the top today, we still created a couple of chances that if we’d have taken the game would’ve gone differently.”

The Young Rams are back in action on Wednesday when they face Everton at Pride Park in the FA Youth Cup Third Round.

Walker believes his side will be ready for the test, saying: “There’s no doubt in my mind that the lads will be hurting tonight and they’ll come back on Monday morning wanting to put that right.

“We have the chance to press the reset button and make sure we’re ready for Wednesday - it’s a chance to bounce back which is what good teams do.”