Paul Scholes believes Manchester United's youngsters have been taught some valuable lessons in the new UEFA Youth League.
The Reds legend has been assisting former team-mate Nicky Butt with the coaching of the Under-19s and saw the teenagers fail to qualify after a 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk in Leigh. Ashley Fletcher's goal raised hopes of a dramatic finale but the Ukrainians held out to progress to the knockout stages.
"We were unlucky in the end," Scholes explained to ManUtd.com. "You just hoped the effort was there right from the beginning. You saw how much urgency there was in the last 15 minutes when we're fighting for the game. If we managed to start games that way, I think we'd be going through to the next round."
United experienced mixed fortunes throughout the competition, enjoying some superb halves of football but were unable to consistently hit top gear for 90 minutes, other than during the fine win at Real Sociedad.
"That's exactly what Nicky and I said to each other and the players," confirmed Scholes. "When you're playing European football against these top teams, you have got to be ready right from the off. You cannot afford to do it in fits and starts.
"Unfortunately, that is the way it has worked out. We still had a chance of going through but it's not happened. Shakhtar have gone through but hopefully we can win the tournament