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Development Squad

Lessons to learn for us, says Johnson

The Development Squad chief reflects after Rovers' four-game unbeaten run came to an end at Southport

19 February 2019

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Development Squad boss Damien Johnson was left frustrated by "naivety" shown from his side following a 2-0 defeat to Everton on Monday night.

Goals from home front pair Bassala Sambou and Fraser Hornby secured the points for the table-topping Toffees, who moved four points clear at the Premier League 2 summit.

The result ended Rovers' four-game unbeaten run in all competitions, and Johnson felt the pitch and the home side's style of play proved to be hard to handle for his young group.

“It was a difficult game in difficult conditions," the 40-year-old reflected.

"The pitch, we played here last week, and it’s not really conducive to a passing style of football. Unfortunately we showed a little bit of naivety in the first half and got punished for it.

“That was ultimately the difference. We are disappointed to lose.

“That’s how Everton try and play. They are quite direct and play with two physical and aggressive forwards.

“They get the ball to the strikers early and get around it. It’s not often in our league that you play against that. It was a good test and for large parts we stood up to it and dealt with it," he added.

“The flip side to that is that when they press high, it’s not conducive to lots of short passes, particularly deep in our half, and they are waiting for it, that’s what their strength is.

“Unfortunately we played in to that and showed a little bit of naivety. That’s another lesson for us to learn.”

Rovers are in next in action on Monday February 25th when they take on Doncaster Rovers in their final group game of the Premier League Cup.

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