Carlos Corberan reflects on a memorable night for Leeds United's Under-23s and hails close first-team relationship

Leeds United's Under-23s head coach Carlos Corberan.
Leeds United's Under-23s head coach Carlos Corberan.
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Leeds United's Under-23s head coach Carlos Coberan hailed the character of his side following a penalty shootout victory over Fulham in the last 16 of the Premier League Cup.

The Whites toppled the Cottagers to reach the quarter-finals of the competition on Thursday at Guiseley after playing out the majority of the evening a man light.

United earned a hard-fought 2-2 draw in normal time and took an early lead through Ryan Edmondson from the spot before a frantic 15 minutes followed the half-time interval with goalkeeper Harrison Male seeing red.

Male received his marching orders after tackling forward Jayden Harris to the floor having been caught in possession inside his own box.

Matthew O'Riley converted from 12-yards and the comeback was complete on the hour mark as Nicolas Santos-Clase struck low underneath substitute goalkeeper Josh Rae.

Leeds, though, rallied as Izzy Brown struck 11 minutes from time with penalties required following an uneventful extra-time period.

Corberan's men came out 5-4 winners in the shootout as goalscorer Santos-Clase missed a sudden death spot-kick to send Leeds into the final eight of the competition.

"We feel really pleased for them," Corberan reflected to LUTV at full-time.

"We feel very happy because I think the team did an unbelievable effort playing in this adversity. We played 70 minutes with one player less but I think we showed the character needed in this adversity and circumstance.

"They showed the character to continue creating chances and we defended very well. The effort of everyone has given us the possibility to continue in this cup."

On reaching the quarter-finals, he said: "I think it is very positive. All of these different circumstances are new experiences for our players.

"We want to play in a more high demanding competition. Continuing in this cup helps us to continue living this type of experience."

A number of first-team players were made available for the knockout tie as Izzy Brown, Barry Douglas, Gaetano Berardi, Jack Clarke and Jamie Shackleton all saw minutes.

Corberan - who also holds a coaching role within the senior set-up - hailed the impact of the close relationship with Marcelo Bielsa's first-team squad on his development side.

"The situation we are creating this year in the Under-23s is very positive," he added.

"We are helping the first-team. To have minutes with the first-team players means the Under-23s players have more of a connection to the first-team.

"This is very positive. One of the keys to the success of the 23s is that connection that we have with the first-team.

"We have to continue like this. We are going to take advantage and we are going to try do our best until the last moment and minute of this season."