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Development Squad

A steep learning curve for our young group

Rovers dropped to second in Premier League 2 Division 1 following defeat to Manchester United on Friday night

6 February 2021

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Billy Barr believes his Development Squad will have learnt a lot from the 6-4 defeat at Manchester United after Rovers’ unbeaten record on the road came to an end.

Barr’s side had led 4-2 with over 70 minutes on the clock, thanks to two goals from Connor McBride, but United scored four times in the final 17 minutes to secure the points at Leigh Sports Village.

The visitors took the lead on 13 minutes when McBride fired home his seventh goal of the season with a fine strike, but Hannibal equalised soon after for the hosts.

Barr's boys went back in front on 32 minutes when captain for the night Sam Barnes headed home from a corner, but United again drew level moments later through Shola Shoretire.

Rovers came flying out of the traps at the start of the second half and scored twice in quick succession to again gain the upper hand through McBride and Joe Nolan.

However, United responded with three goals in a deadly five-minute spell to complete the turnaround, with Joe Hugill finding the net either side of Shoretire completing his hat-trick.

There was still time for United to add a sixth, as the impressive Amad Diallo, a £37m arrival from Atalanta last month, fired into the bottom corner five minutes from time.

And speaking afterwards, Barr was frustrated that his youthful squad - aside from the experienced Corry Evans - weren't rewarded for what was a fine display for the majority of the encounter.

“It was a six minutes spell that brought three goals, which was preventable, in my opinion," he began.

“We started the second half really well to get our 4-2 lead and it all came from making good passes.

“We said at half time that we didn’t keep the ball well enough but we started well in the second half, got the goals, and when Corry came off it was about who was going to be the one to take charge.

“Their three quick goals kills the game for us, but we have to put it into context as well.

“We’re playing against a side who have splashed £50m or £60m on their team, whilst I don’t think we’ve splashed £50 or £60 for ours.

“So from that point of view, we deserve credit to get to 4-2 up.

“We’ve spoken after the game about seeing things out, not letting them have the ball back from the kick-off.

“There’s loads of learning to be done from tonight and we also have to remember that it’s our first away defeat of the season, so we deserve credit for the run," he added.

“We’ve come here, we went 4-2 up and can look at some bits in a positive way, but the final 20 minutes was disastrous for us as a group, not through one or two individuals, as a group.”

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