GRAEME Murty feels today’s 4-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid was a valuable lesson for his side against a top opposition.

The Gers were knocked out of the UEFA Youth League to the Spanish side, and Murty says the players must now pick themselves up for Sunday’s Challenge Cup semi-final in Inverness.

Speaking to RangersTV after the game, he said: “It was a tough challenge against top opposition, I think the scoreline in many ways flatters them because we were chasing the game and we were a little bit too open.

“The goals we conceded weren’t great but for periods we matched them and for periods they showed just why they are top opposition and why we are desperate to be in this competition year on year because our young players need to see what elite looks like.

“That’s possibly the first time some of them will have felt as uncomfortable as that but what we have to make sure is it doesn’t go on for too long and they are not too down.

“They will be hurting, we are all hurting, we are Rangers we don’t like getting beat but I am in a different place I am looking at their growth and the challenges they are going to face.

“The big challenge now is how do they pick themselves up and how do we aid them in being picked up to play in a massive game on Sunday.

“You are going to lose games, you are going to get beat, you are going to have hard times but what do you do about it, where do you go and how do you grow into the next challenge.

“We will know on Sunday whether some of these have recovered physically, psychologically, tactically, emotionally to go again on Sunday and some of them will find it really really hard.

“As a developer of young people that’s great, as a coach I’m bitterly disappointed that we didn’t manage to work their goalkeeper and cause them more problems in the final third.”

The Development Squad head coach felt that Atletico’s ruthlessness in front of goal was key difference in this afternoon’s play-off.

He continued: “I think one of the main lessons I am going to take from it is the sheer diligence and work-rate of our opposition.

“They had to work hard because we shifted the ball well but their willingness to be selfless in their work.

“The expected standard is they are going to out-work you and they have a scheme that is going to be very difficult to break down.

“If you are slack they are going to pounce on the loose bits and they are going to really hurt you and they are going to be ruthless and clinical.

“That’s the massive difference, you look at those guys in the final third couple of chances and they are in the net, we have got a chance three minutes in, four yards from goal and we don’t score, they have one they score and that’s the difference.”

Murty said his players must now put the result behind them as they look towards another big fixture in the Highlands on Sunday.

He added: “That is as good a challenge for them as this 90 minutes was. Putting this to bed, parking the emotion of it, letting it go, being professional, re-hydrating and re-energising and refuelling and making sure come Saturday they have got rid of the baggage and they are ready to face a completely different challenge.

No matter how hard you work sometimes your passing is off, your range is off, or your finishing is off that’s acceptable but what they need to do come Sunday, if selected, is make sure they are ready to go and they are ready to make sure they are of the appropriate standard.

“The satisfying thing for me so far this season is when they have been asked to do it they have managed to step-up. Now they have got a different challenge and it is good.

“They won’t feel as though it is good right now but it is good for them long-term.”

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