MATT Bee was proud of the way his Burnley side performed against Women’s Super League giants Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon, despite losing the match 6-0.

In a game which was played at Lancashire FA’s County Ground in Leyland rather than the Clarets’ usual home in Padiham, it was the first-tier opposition who emerged as comfortable victors.

“I think there were spells where we could have improved in terms of the game and we tried to,” the head coach said after the match.

“We were up against a team that's full of quality, full of international players. And I think for us it was about trying to be realistic with the challenge, trying to make sure that we played our way and finding the spaces as much as possible. 

“They've got some players in there that find intelligent pockets and I think their build-up was frightening at times.

Lancashire Telegraph: Matt Bee speaks to the media post-matchMatt Bee speaks to the media post-match

“I think for our guys, it probably took them by surprise that first 10-15 minutes because you can do all the preparation in the world but when the whistle goes and you're out there with those type of players, then it's when you realise what you're made of.

“I think we gave a good account of ourselves. I think Manchester United have put more than six past teams in the Championship in the past so we have to be proud of that. We have to work hard to make sure that we're playing teams like this in the future.”

The visitors opened the scoring in the 11th minute before recording a further three ahead of half-time. It took a spirited performance throughout from the third-tier Clarets to limit them to only three more goals.

The gulf in class in the women’s game between divisions is much starker than that of the men’s.

United’s players are fully professional – and although it is something Matt Bee’s side hope to become in the future – all Burnley players have to juggle their football around full-time jobs.

Couple that with the fact that the Clarets’ two FA Cup games against Fylde and Sunderland have been their only recent matches due to the curtailment of the FA Women's National League and the game was set up to be one in which the WSL heavyweights would dominate.

It was goalkeeper and captain Lauren Bracewell who had been the heroine in the shootout in the last round, and she put in another good performance on Sunday afternoon.

Bee added: “She's been top-class for us, not just this season but in previous seasons as well. The way she came out and claimed things is easy because it was always going to be a busy afternoon for her.

“I think the way she claimed things, the way she organised the back three, back five, and the way she did the things she did at the times it was needed was a really solid performance.

“We'd like to keep hold of her but she's got all the qualities to push on (to higher leagues).”