Keith Hill delivered his post-match thoughts as Tranmere Rovers earned a 4-2 victory over Leicester City U21s to reach the quarter-finals of the Papa John’s Trophy.
A Danny Lloyd brace and individual efforts from Morgan Ferrier and Corey Blackett-Taylor booked Rovers’ place in the next stage of the competition as Hill's side came out on top at Prenton Park on Wednesday evening.
The Whites will now face one of the following sides in their quarter-final tie: Sunderland, Hull, Lincoln City.
Reacting to Rovers’ win, Hill said: “I’m really pleased with the effort tonight, the way that we performed for two thirds of the game and how we showed grit at the end. They’re a tired bunch having played Sunday, Wednesday. I really enjoyed Sunday and I really enjoyed tonight.
“A key component of any success is effort and if the players work 100 per cent effort-wise, for me, it’s the biggest skill they could offer. The fitter you are, it’s amazing how much it can elevate you as a player. I just want the players to realise they’ve got great opportunities to become better, if they work hard.
“The data from the weekend’s game was one of the best that we’ve had relating to sprints and high intensity, and that fatigue stays in your legs for at least two days. They’ve gone again today and they’re going to have to go again on Saturday. It’s a quick turnaround, but we’ve got to treat each game in isolation and deal with the group of players we’ve got.”
Lloyd marked his return to action in style, having not featured since Boxing Day. Meanwhile, there were first appearances of the campaign for Academy graduates Kyle Hade and George Nugent.
“He [Lloyd] has been absent for ten days and hasn’t trained but he came in, wanted to play and run his race after 60 minutes. What a performance from him,” said Hill.
The Whites' boss added: “It’s great managing young players because they give you 100 per cent effort. I don’t give young players opportunities; they earn it by the way they present themselves on the training pitch and the way they want to represent the club. It’s pure effort, adrenaline, drive- and that goes a long way.”