Westley upbeat despite defeat

Terry Westley said his side will learn from the 2-1 defeat
Reflecting on the Development Squad’s first defeat in four months, Terry Westley said his youthful side would learn valuable lessons from the defeat to Swansea City.

The Hammers started the game brightly and their superiority was rewarded when Grady Diangana netted his first goal at U21 level with a clinical finish at the near post.

However the visiting Swans refused to be cowed, and their persistence was rewarded with two fine long range strikes from Adam King and Tom Sheehan.

Speaking at full time, Academy director Westley said: “On balance, you have to say they deserved it based on their second half performance.

“We really should have capitalised on our early chances, and had we done that it might have been a different story. That is one of several lessons we’ll take from tonight.”

With a number of regular Dev Squad starters out on loan gaining valuable first team experience elsewhere,  Westley named a youthful line-up that included seven players who still qualify for the U18 side, with a further three coming on from the bench.

This ploy of promoting players above their age groups has been a feature of Westley’s tenure at the club and the rewards are evident.

He continued: “All teams lose at one point or another, there’s no shame in our performance or result tonight, we just weren’t at the level we have been over the last few weeks and months.

“We need to keep our focus and concentration, yes we’re playing young players but we can’t use that as an excuse, this is a great opportunity for all our players to stand up and say ‘Yes, I’m ready for this level.

“This result should also be taken in context. It’s our first in 12 games, and we’ve got a semi-final to look forward to. All the while, we have a number of players out on loan beginning to make a name for themselves and will hopefully one day come back and make an impact for our first team.”

The Development Squad next play on Monday 22 February away at Wolverhampton Wanderers.