SHIRTLIFF, COKE AND REDKNAPP REACTION
Audio interview with Peter Shirtliff from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed)
Audio interview with Giles Coke from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed)
Harry Redknapp believes tonight's shock Carling Cup defeat at Mansfield will prove to be a sharp learning curve for the club's promising youngsters.
It was a step too far for many of them as they went down1-0 at Mansfield tonight.
Manager Harry Redknapp made 11 changes from the side which drew at Derby, giving a chance to his fringe players.
However they failed to fire and deservedly lost to the League 2 strugglers who wanted it more as they chased and harried Saints out of their stride.
And Redknapp believes that will be a big wake-up call to the youngsters and to those who have been pushing for their promotion to the first-team.
He said: "Everyone has been telling me how good these kids are and how they deserve an opportunity. Well, tonight i gave them their chance and they did not take it.
"This was real football - not Reserve team football. and they could not handle it. Mansfield worked us and got after us and we could not cope.
"The kids need to realise that this is the real world and this is what you get. Youth football and reserve football are passionless and some of my players were passionless tonight and did not show the character needed.
"This is what it is all about. that's why I believe in sending players out on loan so they can experience it for themselves.
"If I had suggested to any of these players that they should go out on loan to Mansfield they would have looked at me as though I was mad. they would have said they are better than that.
"This was their chance to prove it but they could not handle it. Mansfield worked their socks off and earned it.
"Deep down, I had a feeling all along that something like this could happen.
"Some of them have been knocking on my door and asking when they will play. I gave them the opportunity and they have shown what they can do so don't knock on my door again. They will have to play very very well in the future to get another opportunity.
"There is a lot of talent and potential here but it is a big step up from youth football and that is what they have to cope with."
Peter Shirtliff staked a claim for the permanent manager's job at Mansfield as his League Two side dumped Championship outfit Southampton out of the Carling Cup.
Giles Coke bagged the only goal of the game at Field Mill to give The Stags a shock victory over Harry Redknapp's side.
Mansfield achieved the feat with Shirtliff as their caretaker manager after Carlton Palmer walked out of his job at the weekend.
Shirtliff was delighted with the victory in his first game in charge, and he would like to try his hand in the hot seat permanently.
"I was delighted for the players tonight," said Shirtliff.
"After the weekend I challenged them and they responded in exactly the right way.
"They showed the passion and commitment I wanted and you could see the confidence creeping into their play as the game wore on.
"We played particularly well in the second half and I thought the fans were top class and created a great atmosphere for us.
"As far as the job is concerned we will just have to wait and see.
"It is only one game and all I am thinking about now is preparing for the game against Wycombe at the weekend."
Latest | September 2005