Mark Birch admitted his Carlisle United Under-18s learned some harsh lessons in their FA Youth Cup defeat to Barnsley.

The young Blues suffered a 5-1 defeat at Brunton Park in the first round tie.

Carlisle had led through Aran Fitzpatrick’s free-kick but Barnsley levelled before half-time – then blew United away in the second half.

Under-18 boss Birch said his side were not “resilient” enough when their visitors went for the jugular.

“To be fair to Barnsley they smelled blood and they went for us,” he said of the devastating second-half spell when the Yorkshire side scored three goals in 15 minutes.

“We were on our knees as soon as the first goal after the break went in.

“It’s a lesson that our lads have got to learn quickly because this sort of thing has happened far too often this season.

“When they concede the floodgates can open and it’s finding the resilience to stop that from being the case.

“They have to find a way to pick themselves up, shut up shop after they let a goal go in and work their way back into it.

“We couldn’t do that and Barnsley ran away with it.”

United’s bright start to the game proved in vain with the young Cumbrians going out of youth football’s top knockout competition at the first hurdle.

“The game plan was to stay in the game, compete with them, get to half-time and make sure we were still in it, because we do know that they’re a very good side,” added Birch.

“They’re high up in their league this season, they won it last season and that doesn’t happen for no reason.

“We wanted to frustrate them and see if we could catch them when we had out moments, which we did.

“The lads were full of it at the start of the game and that’s what got us ahead.

“Unfortunately we’ve seen again that we’ve got to be better at overcoming disappointments.”

Birch said United’s defending all over the pitch was not good enough in the second half, after a “fantastic” first 45 minutes under the lights at Brunton Park.

On their stylish opening goal by Fitzpatrick, the coach added: “That’s what he’s capable of doing, but he’s got to realise that we need to see the moments that can come in his game more often.

“He’s another who has great ability as a footballer, but he’s got to be the one to influence things more often.

“He could be a player to take games by the scruff of the neck but he has to believe in himself that he can do that.

“There were too many of our lads in the second half who stepped off it, and I don’t think there were any of them who won their personal battle.

“The frustrating thing is that it was the complete opposite in the first half, we were on top in most areas.”

Birch, speaking to United’s official channels, said he will now be looking closely at the players to see who is capable of bouncing back quickest and in the best way.

“If you’re going to go on to have a career in football at this level there’ll be a lot more lows than highs,” he added.

“What we’re looking for from these lads now is who can bounce back? Who can overcome the disappointment of the night and come in to training in the morning with their heads held high and ready to go again?

“I want to see who it is who is saying, ‘Right, I need to work hard on my game to get better’.

“If we can show that we can identify from mistakes, and learn from them, that will be a big positive to come out of what has been a really frustrating 45 minutes of football.”