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ACADEMY: Gary Mills reflects on Bristol City defeat and looks ahead to QPR

City suffer defeat on the road this past weekend...

20 March 2023


ACADEMY: Gary Mills reflects on Bristol City defeat and looks ahead to QPR

City suffer defeat on the road this past weekend...

20 March 2023

Sky Blues Under-18s coach Gary Mills gave an honest assessment after his side suffered defeat on the road against Bristol City this past weekend.

The 18s travelled to Bristol in the Professional Development League and enjoyed the perfect start, taking the lead through Bradley Stretton in the first half.

However, that lead would be cut short, as the Robins would draw level, before going on to take the game away from a young City side.

With several members of the Under-18s linking up with the Under-21s, City ended the game on Saturday with five of the Under-16s group on the pitch.

Reflecting on the game, Mills believes his young group will have a lot of learning to do and can take this defeat and use it going forward for the remainder of the season.


Looking back on the result…

“We started the game ok,” Mills said.

“We went 1-0 up through a really good goal form Bradley Stretton. We had worked on forward thinking play and working to get in-behind their back line and making runs and Elliot Betjemann picked him out nicely so that was pleasing.

“They equalized through poor defending from us really. We didn’t defend the first ball and we wasn’t compact enough, so there was a lot of learning to do from the game for the lads.”


Under-16s presence in the side…

“We had two 16 year-olds playing at centre-half and they found it tough and later on in games we are finding it difficult to deal with the intensity of the game.

“It’s great for their experience but they’re going to need some help from now until the end of the season from some of the older lads.”


The Under-16s gaining valuable experience…

“With the under-18s linking up with the under-21s this season, it’s giving some of the younger lads an opportunity to play and prepare early for next year.

“We might suffer this year with one or two goals, but long term we will be better off for it and they’ll have this experience to help aid the development.

“We’ve got four lads in and around the 21s playing regularly and they’re doing great and now its time for the under-16s to come in and do the same.

“We ended the game on Saturday with four 16s on the pitch which is good for the long term development heading into the futures seasons.”


Next up against Queens Park Rangers…

QPR will be very attacking. They’re very front footed and they like to get players one-v-one against the opposition.

“It will be a tough game, but it’s a good opportunity for the lads to try and put in a performance where they can try and be a bit more compact and organised and that’s something we will work on this week.

“It’s another good test against a good side that we respect, but we will look to go there an put in a good performance and give a good account of ourselves.”

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