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Development Squad

A poor performance all round

"I didn’t think we could be any worse than we were in the first half in the second, but in my opinion, I thought we were"

23 November 2019

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Billy Barr was left baffled after watching his Under-23s side fall to a comprehensive defeat to Manchester City's Under-23s in Premier League 2.

A first half of few chances saw both sides go into the interval all square, before City upped the tempo in the second half to earn victory.

City winger Jayden Braaf emerged off the bench to score a quickfire double in the last 10 minutes after Fisayo Dele-Bashiru had given the visitors the advantage midway through the second half.

Rovers struggled to create too many clear cut chances, and ultimately deserved to be on the wrong end of the result against Paul Harsley's outfit.

"I’m at a loss to explain the whole performance," Barr began when reflecting on what he'd just witnessed.

“Our pre-match was built around retention of the ball. That was by far the worst we’ve been this season, in both halves.

"I didn’t think we could be any worse than we were in the first half in the second, but in my opinion, I thought we were.

“We mustered very little in the game. Out of possession first half I thought we kept a good shape, not many goalscoring opportunities against us. The main problem was retention of the ball.

“We get to a certain point and then we rush, we make bad decisions and gave the ball back to a team who although bottom of the league, they’re a good team.

“Possession wise, they’re the best team in our league the stats say, they retain the ball the longest. They hadn’t been firing in front of goal, but we let them," he added.

“I thought we went back to Joe Hilton far too often, particularly second half. From advanced positions we were losing 70 yards in two passes and lost our movement and belief to make passes to get back up the pitch.

“We have some very good players. The gaffer keeps going on about the potential of the young lads but we weren’t as good as we have been."

Barr's boys have a swift return to action on Monday night with Benfica the visitors to the Lancashire FA HQ for game two of the Premier League International Cup campaign.

And Barr is desperate to see a reaction from his youngsters.

“We’re going to have to take it on the chin and come back from that because we can’t be as bad as that again," he said honestly.

“We had a couple of chances first half, but I can’t remember anything second half. If you don’t keep the ball well enough then you won’t get that high up the pitch anyway.”

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