Derby County FC Women Under 20s manager Dan Dobrzycki says his team can take great credit for their efforts against Chesterfield Ladies despite defeat in the Derbyshire County Cup final at Grange Park.
Chesterfield took the silverware home following an entertaining encounter at Long Eaton. Dobrzycki believes the negatives of losing a cup final can be spun into positives for the Young Ewes going into the final three league games of the season.
“It always hurts when you lose on penalties,” he said.
“A lot of the girls needed picking up, so it is a shame in many ways as it is the worst way to lose.
“I think I would rather lose that way than be outplayed in the game and lose by a couple of goals. As much as it hurts, it is probably, in many respects, the best way to lose.
“It hurts now, but all that will be channelled into something positive for the rest of our season.”
Reflecting on his side’s performance after the spot kicks have been taken, Dobrzycki believes the shape that he set out for his players was part of the reason why Derby failed to leave Grange Park with the Derbyshire County Cup trophy.
“I do not think the shape was quite right through from no fault with the girls; it was more through what we have asked them to do as coaches,” he admitted.
“It was an even game, and I would expect that because Chesterfield are a well-run, well-organised side.
“But we seemed to have two players spare at the back, which meant we were slightly overrun in midfield, so we looked to address that, and I think we did better when we did that.
“It is a shame we couldn’t really dominate after our positive start, however.”
One of the main talking points of the game in normal time was that Derby were adamant that they should have been awarded a penalty in the second half for a handball off the line, but it wasn’t given - a decision that baffled the young Ewe Rams manager.
“There were penalty shouts for tackles, but there were two good shouts for handball in the box,” claimed Dobrzycki.
“There was one where she slipped out an elbow, which you can argue over whether that one was one or not, but the one in the second half was so clear, and I was really surprised no one saw it.
“The girl has handballed it on the line, which is obviously deliberate. It is a red card, it is a penalty, and she knows full well when she has come off that she's done that.
“I think you expect a certain standard at this level of refereeing, and on those decisions, I am not convinced that either the referee is in the right place or he has not seen it. I do not understand at all how he has missed it.”
“It is very easy to say if you do not win the cup, but the league is your bread and butter, and that is the one we want to go on and win."
Even though the defeat is disappointing for Dobrzycki, his side cannot dwell on the result, as the Young Ewes turn their sights back to winning the FAWNL Reserve Midlands Division, an aim which is still very much alive.
“We have got a league to play for,” he said.
“It is very easy to say if you do not win the cup, but the league is your bread and butter, and that is the one we want to go on and win.
“We would have loved to have won today, and all credit Chesterfield for their part in today, but we now turn our focus to the league.
“We are going to be massively up against it against some good players, so we can only do our best, and I just think it is about doing the best we can now in the remaining games we have left.”
Written by Jordan Richards