Bernardo Rosa: End product will be key against Manchester United Under-23s
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do in football is simply stick the ball into the back of the net.
West Ham United Under-23s go into their game against Manchester United Under-23s on Friday evening still seeking their first win of the Premier League 2 campaign, but not without having had their chances to claim one.
Admittedly, another such chance went begging against Leicester’s U23s at the King Power Stadium on Monday evening.
With the Foxes reduced to ten men early on, the young Hammers unfortunately just could not find their finishing touch, while also being desperately unlucky in striking the woodwork twice before falling to a surging late solo goal.
For the versatile Bernardo Rosa – a midfielder capable of playing out wide and in defence – it was a fitting demonstration of the step-up between Premier League 2 Division 2 last season and the top division this time around.
We’re creating a lot of chances, getting a lot of crosses in from out wide, but we know we need to step it up in the final third this season
No other player made more appearances for the development squad in 2019/20 than the Brazilian, who racked up 24 in all competitions.
Two of those came against Friday’s opponents Manchester United – who were promoted with the Hammers at the end of the curtailed season – including a starring role in the electrifying 2-0 win over the Red Devils in January.
West Ham’s U23s were precise and clinical on that winter's evening in east London, and 20-year-old Rosa would like to see his teammates replicate those qualities on Friday night to ensure they attain a scoreline which does justice to the quality of their performance.
“Leicester was a frustrating match,” Rosa told whufc.com.
“We dominated their ten men but we couldn’t find a goal and with the two chances they had, they scored. They were more clinical than us and it’s just frustrating that we didn’t get a point out of it.
“We’re creating a lot of chances, getting a lot of crosses in from out wide, but we know we need to step it up in the final third this season. Our end product hasn’t always been there and it’s cost us points that we should have claimed.
“Premier League 2 Division 1 is a more difficult league and we know that we need to be more clinical this season overall, starting from today. It’s a tougher league and there’s better quality in it than last season, so we need to keep improving ourselves.”
Manchester United’s U23s made a rocky start of their own back in the top division of development football, failing to win any of their opening four league matches.
Under manager Neil Wood, the Red Devils have since recovered their position, winning their last three games on the bounce to climb to sixth in the table, while scoring eleven goals in that time.
Rosa is under no illusions about the quality of the side that West Ham’s U23s will come up against at Rush Green on Friday, but maturely recognises that there is only avenue out of their recent disappointment: hard graft.
He explained: “Everyone’s disappointed about our results, and that we’re yet to win, but everyone’s working hard just to turn things around.
“We’ve been recovering properly, working hard all week and working hard towards the Manchester United game. We know we can turn things around.”
West Ham United Under-23s take on Manchester United Under-23s on Friday 27 November in a behind-closed-doors fixture. Kick-off is at 7pm; you can follow all the action with our live blog on whufc.com from 6.30pm.
Please note that this Academy fixture will be played behind closed doors. Only key personnel will be admitted on site and the match will be played without supporters present, in line with safety guidelines and social distancing measures in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.