A relatively young side started the Tuesday night Carabao Cup fixture at Bramall Lane and manager Chris Beech spoke afterwards about how much they’ll have taken from going up against former Premier League players.
“It’s a great learning curve for the younger ones,” he said. “When we made our changes you saw the power of Jon Mellish, and pace of Brennan Dickenson with his quality of cross, and Tristan Abrahams with his press.
“It’s important our boys like Lewi, good young players, Josh Dixon, Taylor Charters, that they join the party in terms of committing to be quicker, stronger, faster. It makes such a significant difference.
“I talked to Fish [Sam Fishburn], who we brought with us to watch the game, about McBurnie. I watched Fish play two weeks ago at Blackburn and the first four touches he gave the ball away. McBurnie doesn’t do that.
“There’s not really that much difference. If you go that bit more in terms of how you prepare and train every day, it takes you so much further in the game. That’s why it’s a great learning curve. “
“So it’s really, really good that they were out on the pitch, but I’ve told them, they’ve got to catch us up,” he continued. “The difference you see when Brennan or Jon comes on. We can all pat each other on the back and keep comforting each other, but elite development, sport elite behaviour, is different.
“It’s hard, it’s ruthless, it’s about giving everything. It takes great character and courage to go and be different in that. I hope they do learn, and I’m glad I did it. I shared my thoughts with them and I hope they can continue to buy into that. It can completely change their life if they do.
“Lewi Bell, I thought he was ok, but I do know he’s better. But I also know he was playing against some very quick, physical players. I hope he learns very quickly and keeps progressing, and I hope Josh Dixon and Taylor Charters learn the same message.
“It’s not the big bad wolf as a manager demanding a higher standard. It means meet the requirements, your rewards get fulfilled and you end up having a good 10 or 15-year career where you can play somewhere like this.
“It would be great to get Carlisle back to a level like this, but like we said before, until there’s possibly a little bit more stability, because I like stability, people like Lewi and Taylor are very important because they are from Carlisle.”
And on those second half changes, made just after the hour-mark, he told us: “Me an Gav talked for five minutes at half time about whether to continue to contain, and we just felt by getting an extra player up front it would help.
“We felt if we sped up their passing at the back they may actually attack us more. That’s what we did, and we discussed it, because we’re good at it. I knew there’d be more turnovers for us, which there was, and we got the ball down and played but we didn’t score.
“It doesn’t really matter if you stay off a team, attack a team, play five up front or at the back, it’s about winning and scoring goals, and we didn’t manage to do that.”