David Unsworth spoke of his “immense pride” after Everton Under-23s lifted the Premier League 2 title in front of a bumper crowd at Goodison Park.
The young Blues fell to a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool in front of almost 18,000 supporters, but that was not enough to dampen spirits as captain Jonjoe Kenny was presented with the inaugural trophy on the pitch after the full-time whistle.
And while coach Unsworth was disappointed with the manner of the loss, he could not hide his delight at this season’s overall achievements.
“I’m immensely proud,” he said. “We were disappointed to lose the game. It wasn’t like us tonight - we didn’t start until about 75 minutes in but then we kept going and could have ended up getting the equaliser. But when you look at the season as a whole, I am very proud of this group of players.
“It was a great moment to see the lads lift the trophy at Goodison. It was a great evening but we’re sorry we couldn’t get the result we all wanted for all the fans who came out this evening. Their support means everything to me and the lads. I can’t thank them enough for their incredible support.
“There have been many pleasing aspects from this season. We’ve managed to get a number of lads into the first team and, at the same time, it’s never weakened our Under-23s team either. We talk about developing players but it’s also about winning as well. I firmly believe that at this age group, you should be doing both. They’ve done that over the course of the season.”