Liverpool boss Critchley reveals 'immense pride' for youngsters despite 5-0 defeat at Aston Villa

Liverpool’s stand-in manager Neil Critchley hailed his ‘magnificent’ youngsters after they fell to a 5-0 defeat to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup.

The Reds were forced to send a starting team with an average age of just 19 as their commitments to the Club World Cup in Qatar clashed with the quarter-final tie.

It meant, despite Aston Villa making ten changes from their last Premier League lineup, the hosts breezed to victory thanks to goals from Conor Hourihane, Jonathan Kodjia and Wesley.

READ MORE: Youngest Liverpool side in history crashes out of Carabao Cup as Aston Villa book semi-final berth

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Neil Critchley, Manager of Liverpool applauds fans after the Carabao Cup Quarter Final match between Aston Villa and Liverpool FC at Villa Park on December 17, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Critchley was left proud of his charges despite a heavy defeat. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Liverpool's Morgan Boyes (left) and under 23 manager Neil Critchley appear dejected at half time during the Carabao Cup, Quarter Final match at Villa Park, Birmingham. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)
The stand-in boss called his side 'magnificent' after their Carabao Cup exit. (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)

But Critchley was pleased with what he saw given the disparity - and was left with ‘immense pride’ after the performance.

"I thought we were magnificent,” he told Sky Sports. “We were fantastic from the start, we had a couple of chances from the first whistle. We were really unfortunate to concede and find ourselves 2-0 down. It was an incredible night and no one wanted it to end. The support we had was unbelievable.

"Some of them showed the potential to one day play for us, or in the Premier League. They will know it was just part of their journey. My overwhelming feeling was one of immense pride."

The Liverpool Under-23s boss, who was acting as manager in Jurgen Klopp’s absence, also revealed Dean Smith and John Terry - the opposing manager and assistant - spoke to his players after the match.

He added: “They said 'keep going, good luck' and wished us the best. The moment I will remember and the players will remember for the rest of their lives.”

Hourihane opened the scoring with a wicked free-kick before Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross was deflected into his own net by Morgan Boyes just minutes later.

Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane celebrates their victory after the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Hourihane was pleased with his side's victory after a 'lose-lose' game. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Kodjia then bagged twice in the eight minutes before the interval before Wesley wrapped up proceedings in injury time.

And the Republic of Ireland international said his side were pleased to be in the Carabao Cup semi-finals after a ‘lose-lose’ game.

“It was not easy,” Hourihane added. “They are a young team and they would have been bang up for it but our quality came on in the end.

“It was lose-lose as everyone expected us to win.

“All in all it’s nice to get through. It’s great to get into the semi-final. We’ll see who we get.”

Featured from our writers:

Yahoo Sport UK presents Tailgate