Collins | 'We’re disappointed to go out'

James Collins was disappointed to see his under-21s exit the Premier League International Cup on Monday night.

Crystal Palace were 3-0 winners in the quarter-final tie but despite the scoreline, head coach Collins felt his side had the better moments at times during the game and has praised the players for getting to this stage of the competition for the first time.

On going out of the competition

“We’re disappointed to go out, of course. We knew it wasn’t going to be a footballing game the moment we arrived, so we talked about competing, talked about second balls, talked about turning them, getting behind them and getting crosses in the box.

“I actually thought, for the first hour of the game, we did that well. The goals change the game. They had one attempt at our goal in the first half and scored, we switched off at the back post.

“I thought we had the better moments first half. Second half, we were getting on top without threatening the goal but I thought with the territory, the goal may come.

“On a difficult pitch, it was hard to combine and play. It was more about getting the ball wide and getting crosses in the box.

“They scored on the counter-attack which has killed us a little bit and sort of kills the game at that point. We then throw bodies forward and had a chance. Harvey (Griffiths) could’ve scored and had a good effort that just went past the post.

“If we could get back to 2-1 at that point, it would’ve been interesting. Then they get the third goal and I don’t think 3-0 was a fair reflection, but that’s sort of how those games go if you don’t get the first goal.”

On getting to the knockout stages

“It’s the furthest we’ve gone in the history of the competition. It would’ve been nice to get through to the semi-final. It’s a long trip back when you’ve been knocked out.

“The boys will have to learn from that disappointment. I keep talking about learning opportunities and for some of the boys, if you’re on loan in League One or League Two, you have to come here and play on these pitches.

“We’ve got the disappointed boys in the dressing room and they’re blaring their tunes out and buzzing because they get through to the next round. They’re good lessons for our boys to learn.

“We’ve got to be pleased with our progress in the group this year. We’re seventh in the league out of 26 teams which I think is a good achievement at this point.

“We’ve got to finish in the top 16 in the league to make the play-offs in the new system this year, so that will be interesting.

“We’ve got to keep improving the players and developing. Tonight was a tough one to take because you can’t play the style of football you want to play on that surface.

“The surface was the same for both teams and you have to deal with that. They maybe dealt with it in the end a little bit better than us.”