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Development Squad

We got the response we wanted despite the defeat

Billy Barr was left pleased with the display from his side despite the late loss to Benfica on Monday night

26 November 2019

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Billy Barr was pleased with the response from his side in the narrow defeat to Benfica Under-23s on Monday night and felt his side were unfortunate against the Portuguese visitors.

Two second half goals from Benfica substitute Daniel Anjos sent Rovers crashing out of the Premier League International Cup in the drizzle at Leyland.

Jacob Davenport had slammed home midway through the second half to deservedly give the hosts a slender advantage before Anjos bagged twice in the final 10 minutes.

Despite the scoreline, it was an impressive display from a youthful Rovers, who can count themselves unfortunate that the final group stage game against Newcastle United next month will count for nothing.

"I'm more than happy with the application, the workrate, because we’d questioned that with the group," the Development Squad chief reflected after the encounter.

“The stats showed us that we’d not been working as hard and that was back to something like how we want to perform.

“We were 30 seconds from taking the lead ourselves, we had to go gung-ho because we had to win the game. We got undone and I feel for the lads because they gave it a real good go.

“It was a difficult game, they had quite a bit of the ball but we grew in to the game and showed what we can do.

"Those killer moments, that little bit of luck, it’s something we’ll look at because that’s one goal in three games. We need to be scoring more and there will be reasons why. We’ll go through some work on that before Friday’s game.”

Despite mathematically being unable to progress from the groups, Barr admits he's enjoyed the experience of challenging in a fresh competition and believes the squad will benefit from coming up against European opponents.

“It’s been a great experience, the first time I’ve been involved in the competition myself," he added.

"You’re coming up against what I could call formed teams, 20 deep. We generally come together the day before the game.

“But credit to the lads. I was harsh with them after Friday’s game but I felt for them.

“The gaffer wants the young lads to be able to stake a claim and I’m hoping that he will be happy with what he’s seen.

“Will one or two pop in to his mind for games coming up? I don’t know. But we’ll keep working and trying to improve the group and hopefully some of them do get a look in some time.” 

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