Manning: We just didn't deal with Leicester threat

Liam Manning


Liam Manning admitted he and fellow U23s coach Steve Potts were disappointed with the manner of West Ham United’s 3-0 Premier League 2 Division 1 defeat at Leicester City.

Manning, Potts and the backroom staff prepared their young team for the physical and aggressive challenge posed by the older and more experienced Foxes, only for Leicester to race into a three-goal lead inside 21 minutes by basing their game on those very attributes.

A home team including Wales midfielder Andy King and Tunisia defender Yohan Benalouane went in front inside three minutes when Tyrese Shade was given time and space to pick his spot, before a failure to deal with two set pieces led to further goals from Fousseni Diabate and Callum Elder, all but ending the game as a contest.

It’s a learning curve, but you have to get the result while you’re learning, so it’s frustrating

Liam Manning

“It was extremely difficult in terms of we knew how they were going to play, being extremely physical and direct and getting in our faces and being aggressive, which they delivered, but we just didn’t deal with it,” Manning reflected. “We were slow to start and conceding after three-and-a-half minutes kills you and gives them momentum, they got their tails up and off they went.

“I’m just disappointed with the manner of the goals and the way we were, really. We knew they’d be physical and direct from set pieces and we just didn’t deal with them. All three goals were collective mistakes and, while you might get away with one mistake, you sure won’t get away with two or three mistakes in a row.

“We’ll look at them, analyse them and it’s an opportunity to teach and educate the lads and, at the level they’re at now, they need to learn quickly. It’s a learning curve, but you have to get the result while you’re learning, so it’s frustrating.”


Sixteen-year-old Dan Chesters produced a positive performance at Leicester


While it was a negative night overall, there were positives in the shape of 16-year-old first-year scholar Dan Chesters, who started in central midfield, and 15-year-old schoolboy Jayden Fevrier, who appeared as a late substitute on the left flank.

“They’re definitely positives and, if you look back at last weekend when we were 4-0 up against Swansea, it’s very easy to play well when you’re in control, but when you’re 3-0 down and up against it as we were in the opening 60 minutes, you find out a lot more about individuals and I thought Dan applied himself and showed a desire to make an impact which was a huge positive,” Manning continued.

“His challenge now is that he’s seen what it looks like in the U23s and, if he wants more of that, he needs to train properly every day.

“We had a few young players in the side and ultimately what we’re all about is producing players for the first team, which is what we’ve been doing in the last few weeks.”

The U23s will seek to return to winning ways when they host FC Porto in the Premier League International Cup at Chigwell Construction Stadium on Tuesday evening.