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Development Squad

Tough conditions didn't help either side

Rovers signed off their Premier League Cup group stage campaign with a 1-1 draw with Burnley

12 March 2020

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Billy Barr felt his team did well enough in blustery conditions at Curzon Ashton's Tameside Stadium, but had a tinge of disappointment that his side didn't earn all three points against Burnley's Under-23s.

Dan Pike's early opener caught out Swedish goalkeeper Lucas Jensen early on, but the Clarets battled back and levelled midway through the second half via the right boot of Joel Mumbongo.

The draw was probably the fairest outcome in Greater Manchester, with Burnley improving after the break.

The result is meaningless in terms of qualification to the knockout stages, with Rovers already booked in to face Wolves in the last 16, whilst Burnley were guaranteed third spot in Group G before kick-off.

And speaking after the encounter between the two local rivals, Barr was left a little frustrated that his youngsters didn't earn more for their efforts.

“The conditions were very difficult for both teams, but I think we started the game really well," the Development Squad chief reflected.

“Dan Pike will tell you it's a really unbelievable goal, but the rest of the group will tell you it's a cross.

“We then lost our way a little bit. I want to play more football and to not go as direct as we did in the game.

“I just didn't think for a period of the first half and a generally a large part of the second half, we didn't play through midfield or switch play enough.

“Like I say, the conditions were difficult with a hurricane in your face and an opposition that press right up.

“The positive is that we didn't suffer defeat, the performance wasn't great, but the game is gone now," he reviewed.

“It was the Under-23s' first game for four weeks and it looked like it was our first game in four weeks.

“We'll look ahead now to Monday night, rest the team and prepare for Chelsea."

A number of Under-18s heroes from the FA Youth Cup triumph over Arsenal last week were rewarded with a starting berth at Ashton.

Six of the youngsters who began the 4-1 demolition of the Gunners were all handed places in the XI against Burnley.

And Barr added that he expects there will be more chances for the teenage starlets in the remaining games of the Premier League 2 Division 1 campaign.

“The opportunities were there for the youngsters because our group is really small," he said.

"That is probably how it will be for us for the remaining five games.

“We have difficult opposition coming up, so it's about the lads showing us what they can do for us between now and the end of the season.”

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