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Barr: No blame on our players

The Under-18s chief reflects on his side's opening day defeat to Liverpool

12 August 2019

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Under-18s coach Billy Barr was disappointed when reflecting on his side’s 7-1 defeat to Liverpool, but says his players can’t be blamed for the defeat.

Having spent the last couple of weeks in Spain, Barr’s youngsters touched back down in the UK and almost immediately had a game to play.

The heavy defeat saw the Reds run out comfortable winners, but Barr explains that there’s no way the game should have gone ahead in the first place.

“The result went exactly as we thought it would, and we were trying to have the game postponed before the matchday came about,” the youth team chief revealed.

“That was because of the schedule we were coming off the back of, playing four games in a week, which is unfair at the start of any league.

“We’d been trying for weeks and weeks to get the game postponed and spoke to the relevant parties.

“Having had no support in our quest to rearrange, unfortunately we’ve had one player who’s had to go to hospital with a medical condition that was potentially brought on by fatigue.

“There were 14 clubs that went on the Erasmus trip and we were the only club that didn’t have their game cancelled. It’s the second time this has happened to us within the Category One games programme,” he added.

“The young lads, it’s their welfare that needs to be assessed and we were made to play the game. Ultimately we have a responsibility for the welfare of our young players, and that goes for every club and organisation up and down the country.”

Doubles from strikers Layton Stewart and James Balagizi, plus two from midfielder Tom Hill and a Jake Cain strike gave the Reds the win, with Rovers finding the net through Jared Harlock.

And although disappointed with the performance, Barr pins no blame on his side.

“As bad as the result looks, and we did ship some really silly goals, the fatigue in the group simply has to be a contributing factor to that,” he said.

“We made a lot of bad decisions, but ultimately we feel that the game shouldn’t have gone ahead. Playing later in the week would have been beneficial for both sides.”

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