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Development Squad

We need to learn from it - Johnson

Damien will look for a reaction from his players following defeat to Boro

12 September 2017

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Damien Johnson was not too downhearted, despite seeing his side's unbeaten start to the season ended by Middlesbrough.

Rovers' Under-23s looked on course for a fourth straight Premier League 2 victory when Joe Rankin-Costello fired the hosts ahead just past the quarter-hour mark.

The development squad continued to dominate for much of the match, creating countless chances, but goals against the run of play from Luke Armstrong (33), George Miller (51) and Lewis Wing (90+3) saw Boro secure the spoils to maintain their 100% record.   

“It will be a good learning experience for us," said Johnson.

“It’s one of those games where you have done okay and created lots of opportunities in terms of crosses and final third entries and they have had three chances and scored three goals.

“We have got to be better in terms of our organisation when we don’t have the ball and a little bit more clinical.

“For all our final third entries I didn’t feel that we tested their goalkeeper enough.

“That is the disappointing thing and to become more clinical and ruthless."

Despite the defeat, Johnson was encouraged by his team's performance and the manner in which they have started the season, flourishing in a 3-4-3 formation.

“We have been together a while now, they are comfortable in the system and there is a confidence about them," he added.

“We started well, deserved the goal and we had some chances and could have been 2-0 or 3-0 up on another night.

“But the reality for those lads is that it’s always going to be the case, you need to make sure that no matter how dominant in possession you are that you keep the back door shut.

“That is the lesson for the young defenders and us as a team.

“Even going 2-1 down we responded well, showed some good character to keep going and kept asking questions.

“On another night, one of those might have gone in and we’re then committing men forward, leaving ourselves more exposed towards the end, but I think you have to try and do that in terms of getting back into the game."

Having won three league games on the spin, Johnson is now interested to see how his side respond to the defeat, starting with a trip to Norwich on Sunday.

“They have won three games, they have had a lot of nice things said about them, it’s going to be a good test how they respond to that," he added.

“We've had a little setback and the thing for me is can we learn from it and go again on Sunday.

“That’s what we’ll be looking to do."

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