Cameron Toshack Swansea City
24th January 2017
Coach Cameron Toshack believes Swansea City's young players can take positives from their time in the Checkatrade Trophy despite a quarter-final exit at the hands of Coventry City at the Liberty.
An Oli McBurnie penalty gave the under-21s the lead after the striker was fouled in the box in the second half.
Despite dominating large spells of the game, the Sky Blues pulled level inside the final five minutes thanks to a header from captain Jordan Willis.
As the game went to penalties, Coventry keeper Reice Charles-Cook pulled off two saves to deny the Swans' progress to the semi-final of the competition.
Despite the defeat, Toshack hailed the young side's character throughout the competition that saw them beat EFL teams Newport County and Plymouth Argyle on the way to the quarter-final.
"Overall it has been a fantastic journey for our young men and staff," he said.
"We showed we are more than capable of competing against League One and League Two sides, which is a huge positive to take away.
"We stuck to the game plan once we took the lead and were not over awed in any way. We played with confidence and continued to attack even when they pulled level, which was pleasing to see.
"We have to focus on the positives - there were plenty of them. We were the better side over 90 minutes and myself and Gary (Richards) are very proud of what the team has achieved throughout the competition."
The young Swans were the last remaining academy side left in the competition following wins over the U21 sides from Norwich and Wolves in previous rounds.
They now turn their attention back to Premier League Two action, with the under-23s holding an impressive 13-point lead at the top of the division 2 table, plus campaigns in the International Cup and Premier League Cup still to play for.
"We've had a fantastic season so far and are over-achieving," continued Toshack.
"Our young men are in the quarter-final of the International Cup and are riding high at the top of the league, so we have a lot to play for. Nothing is over yet.
"Many did not think we could get to the quarter-final of this competition. We have put a marker down, hopefully we can continue it next year because our young men have learned a lot from the experience.
"Our development players are more than capable of playing senior football. We have pushed teams from EFL leagues this season which is testament our players and shows people that these lads deserve a chance."