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ACADEMY: Mark Delaney gives assessment of Under-18s defeat to Barnsley

City fell to a 4-1 defeat...

2 October 2023

Sky Blues Under-18s coach Mark Delaney was left disappointed after City’s youngsters slipped to a 4-1 defeat to Barnsley.

City conceded from the spot inside the opening few minutes of the game and then again just before the break. Two more in the second half ensured City’s goal would go down as nothing more than a consolation.

Defeat leaves the Sky Blues 8th in the Northern side of the U18 Professional Development League and reflecting on the result, Delaney gave an honest assessment.

“As the score-line suggests, since the start of the season, that’s been our worst performance, collectively we gave them the four goals through individual errors.

“We gave away a penalty inside the opening few minutes, which puts us on the back foot straight away.

“The rest of the first half there wasn’t that much in it. We had some half chances, and they had a couple of half chances, but then dead on half-time, we gave possession away and they got their second goal.

“It was disappointing to give away the goals like that because it decided the game.

“Then, in the second half we didn’t cause them many issues and again gave away some sloppy goals. Overall, we’re disappointed with the level of performance and giving away four goals which could have been avoided.”

Despite falling behind early on in the game, it was the Sky Blues who actually had the game’s first chance, only to be denied by the Tykes shot-stopper.

Seconds later, the visitors would go up the other end and open the scoring, before the game being taken further away from City moments before the break.

“Goals change games, and it did change the momentum of the game against Barnsley. It was our home game, and you want to start on the front foot and to be honest we had the first chance after a minute.

“We went through one-on-one and the goalkeeper made a really good save and then a minute later we gave away the penalty.

“We tried to get back into the game but again as I’ve said, we gave away sloppy goals and regardless of the time they were scored, its individual errors which could have been avoided.”

The Under-18s are now back in action this weekend when they travel to Yorkshire to face Sheffield Wednesday.

Delaney will have more chances to work with his group ahead of the fixture, as those players who have been training and playing for the Under-21s will be available due to the 21s being without a fixture until the end of October.

Despite this being an added bonus for the Under-18s, Delaney told how the exposure those players get from training with the 21s and First Team is vital for their development.

“We’ve now got a chance to put the groups together and build towards the next two or three games and having a stronger group where some of the 18s who do play for the 21s most weeks, will be able to link back into their own age group.

“However, it’s such a positive to have the 21s who are involved with the first team training group, and you saw there were three of them on the bench this past weekend.

“Each player is getting an opportunity to be challenged and progress through the age groups and the effect of the 21s being with the first team is that the Under-18s are playing for the 21s.”

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