Academy

Alan Neilson: The result was great

Under-23s coach Alan Neilson was pleased with the team’s 3-3 draw with Derby County in the Premier League Cup on Monday but was left wanting more from the performance itself.

The Under-23s went 3-1 down in the 71st minute to the Rams but scored twice in the final ten minutes of the game to take a point from their opening group stage fixture of the tournament.

Speaking in his post-match interview, Neilson said he was more than happy to see the team come back to salvage a draw but expected a better performance from his side from the first whistle.

“The result was great because we came back from 3-1 down with less than ten minutes to go, but the performance wasn’t up to our standards. I know we played on Friday night at Carrow Road, but they played on Friday night to Everton at Southport.

“We didn’t move the ball quick enough, we were on our heels too much, not sharp enough, our pressing wasn’t as good as Friday night, especially the first half.

“We were disappointed in that, but as I said to the lads afterwards, they stayed in the game and created numerous chances. Tom Dickson-Peters went on to score three goals, I know he missed a chance in the second half, but you have to be calm in that situation. As a forward player, he will miss chances.

“I even threw my arms up in the air for the leveller! I try and be calm, but even I went for it. Did they deserve it? On our collective chances, probably yes. On our whole performance? I’m sitting on the fence. I’m happy for them, but we have standards which we don’t want to drop below.”

Away from the result, one positive for Neilson was the grit and determination his side showed to grind out the result, finding their leveller in the 95th minute.

“I was really pleased with their effort. It’s day in, day out. You’ve got to push yourself daily. We changed the formation, went a bit gung-ho with three at the back, I don’t think Liam Gibbs has ever played wing-back but I told him to push on, Josh Giurgi played that position because he’s been a winger before.

“We got two goals from it, so it worked. On other days, we could’ve conceded two, but we got the 3-3 draw in the end.”

U18s players Harry Brooke and Lewis Shipley made appearances for the U23s in the draw, with both players impressing Neilson in their performances.

“It’s a young team, they’re still second-year scholars. They both did well when they came on, I said to Harry that he’s just got to get on the ball even more and express himself, have a personality.

“Ships [Lewis Shipley], I don’t think he’s ever played wing-back like that before, I even said to him to push in and get into the box because we needed to get the equaliser. They both did really well.”

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