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INTERVIEW: John Dempster takes positives from QPR defeat

City fell to a 4-2 defeat in the Professional Development League...

22 August 2023


INTERVIEW: John Dempster takes positives from QPR defeat

City fell to a 4-2 defeat in the Professional Development League...

22 August 2023

Despite defeat on the road to Queens Park Rangers, Under-21s Head Coach, John Dempster, was pleased with his side’s performance.

The Under-21s fell to a 4-2 defeat against the Hoops, coming from behind to level at 2-2, with goals from Evan Eghosa and Tom Costello.

However, after looking to push for a winner, City’s youngsters were caught on the break and ultimately the game would slip away.

Reflecting on the night’s events, Dempster believes the scoreline didn’t reflect the way the game developed, praising his side for their efforts.

“It’s not often you lose a game 4-2 and come away from it with a lot of positives,” Dempster said.

“We’re going to have to have a look at some of our defensive frailties having conceded four goals but in general we dominated the ball.

“I think their goalkeeper was man of the match and we had lots of opportunities where we could have scored a lot more goals than we did. The two goals we did get were good ones, playing through the thirds and breaking lines and attacking well.

“Evan Eghosa popped up with a rebound to get his goal and that’s important for him because he wants to add more goals to his game. Evan then provided the second goal for Tom Costello with a brilliant ball into the box and it was a great header from him.

“When we pulled it back to 2-2, it looked like there was only going to be one winner in the game. There was a bit of a dubious referee decision that led to the third goal and then when we were pushing to equalise they hit us with a bit of a sucker punch to make it 4-2.

“The scoreline was a bit of an unfair reflection on the performance and I think if we’re going to hit those levels of performance consistently, we will win more games than we lose.”

Dempster made two changes to his side for the fixture, making two changes to his back three, with Riccardo Di Trolio coming into the side and Dermi Lusala moving across.

The Under-21s coach told how tactical work on the training pitch has been limited heading into the game, which may have led to some of the frailties.

“We haven’t had loads of time to work with the team and the unit tactically.

“The benefits of the players being up with the first team far outweigh that, so, so far, it’s been a real positive for the group.

“On the other side, with Trialists coming in, it can look a bit disjointed and it’s a real challenge for them to get up to speed in a team where they don’t know people and don’t know how we play.

“It’s no different to other Club’s up and down the country and we won’t use that as an excuse.”

The Under-21s exposure to the first team this season has been evident, with Kai Andrews making his first team debut and the likes of Justin Obikwu, Evan Eghosa and Bradley Stretton lining up in the matchday squad.

Dempster has been able to see the improvements in his players from their experiences with the first team, something he believes will continue to aid their development.

“In a training capacity, when players have come back from the Lodge to the Higgs, their attitudes are spot on and you can see they’ve been training at a higher level and a different tempo with more intensity.

“That can only help young players training with first team players and its great for them to have that under their belts and it will bring them on individually and improve them.”

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