Westley: "We need to learn lessons quickly"

Terry Westley said his team needs to be harder to breakdown
Reflecting on a difficult night for the Development Squad, Academy manager Terry Westley gave a frank and honest assessment of where his team went wrong at Emirates.

Under the lights at the iconic ground, hosts Arsenal ran out 5-0 winners thanks to a brace from Stephy Mavididi and a goal apiece for Kaylen Hinds, Glen Kamara and Ben Sheaf.

Speaking after the defeat, Westley said: “It was a tough; clearly if you lose 5-0 to anyone it’s never easy to accept. The lasting thing for me is looking at what can the players learn from it. Can they learn those lessons so they don’t repeat them?

“In the first 15 minutes we actually outplayed them. We dominated the ball, we kept it well, and we controlled the tempo of the game. That was what we set out to in training.

“I’m just disappointed with the manner with which we conceded goals. There was a backpass, a penalty and a few other sloppy moments. We’ve got to make sure the opposition really work hard for their goals and make sure we get our rewards when we are on top.”

Despite the emphatic score line, the young Irons started the game on the front foot. Ex-Arsenal striker Jordan Brown came close to breaking the deadlock after just three minutes yet his effort was well saved by Matt Macey.

However it was the hosts who drew blood first as Kaylen Hinds fired home after a rebound well kindly at the forward’s feet.

Just moments later, the Gunners doubled their advantage as Stephy Mavivididi was on in the right place at the right time to turn to Sam Howes’ impressive save.   

It was this quick-fire double that Westley identified as the turning point: “We gave away two sloppy goals in two minutes and it was game over at that point, it was all uphill from that point. So from the 16th minute it was damage limitation really.

“I was concerned that a few players might go under and not show that streak of competitiveness. At the same there were some exceptions to that. I thought Kyle Knoyle did very well, we made him captain tonight and he responded very well. He’s beginning to show me that he can play at the next level. He’s moving into men’s football now.

“We have to consider that we’ve lost a few players to the first team, that is of course how it should be and that’s what we’re all about. Against Liverpool, hopefully it’ll be a good day, we wish that the first team do well at Anfield.”

With the regular Dev Squad side short of a few players, the opportunity fell to youngsters Marcus Browne and Declan Rice to stake a claim in the U21 side.   

Westley continued: “I was pleased with Marcus because I thought he stayed with the game. Regardless of the score he kept battling and trying to do the right thing. For him tonight was a decent learning curve. Same with Declan when he came on for his debut he moved it around nicely so I was pleased.”

Having played two games in a week, Westley’s men have just less than three weeks to prepare for their next game – away at Blackburn Rovers on Monday 14 September.

While some Academy members will represent their countries – the likes of Stephen Hendrie, Josh Cullen, Sam Howes and Declan Rice, the majority will have the opportunity to rest and reflect.

“We’ve had two games this week and I think some of them need a breather. We came back to training on the 20 June so we’ve already been together for a while. We’re still going to work hard, we’re in tomorrow and Bank Holiday Monday but at the same time try to freshen some things up.

“We need to reflect on the first three games. Take the positives and the negatives and make sure we’re stronger for the next set of games.”