U21s boss delighted with three pointsReading U21s boss Martin Kuhl hailed the performance of his side after they picked up their fourth win in a row with a 1-0 success away at Arsenal.
Niall Keown’s eighth-minute header proved to be the difference between the sides at the Emirates Stadium, as the plucky Royals overcame a Gunners side littered with experienced stars.
England international Jack Wilshere completed 88 minutes for the home side, with Serge Gnabry playing 90 and Abou Diaby completing almost an hour.
But, although they enjoyed much of the possession, Arsenal were unable to breach Kuhl’s excellently drilled and disciplined back line.
“It was a very, very good team performance,” said the U21s boss. “Had we been a bit more ruthless I think we could have scored a couple more goals too. Defensively we were very sound; frustrated them and it wasn’t our intention to hit them on the counter attack, that wasn’t part of the game plan, but when we did we looked dangerous.
“We worked on when to press, when to drop and that enabled us to disrupt them quite well. Part of the learning curve is for the players to manage games themselves, which they did very well here.
“We had to get our blocks and clearances in. The players backed one another up and we’re really pleased to have got the result. We’re in a league where this puts us in a good position.
“We’re trying to get promoted and there is a group of five or six of us in the league, of which Arsenal are one, that are trying to get up to the top league. We’ve made a bit of breathing space between us and them now and if we win all our remaining games then we’ll be promoted.
“We’ve got a tough game next against Derby, who are one point above us, and we’ll change our mentality to prepare for that one now.”
Kuhl was also delighted with the way that his squad dealt with the surroundings of the Emirates, and the high-calibre opposition that they came up against.
He said: “We spoke about it before. Over the last couple of years our U21s and U18s have got results against the likes of Arsenal. We don’t come here expecting to be beaten by them. We come here with players that we know are good players and if you want to be the best then you have to play against the best.
“If you watched the game, Jack Wilshere looked up for it. He put his tackles in and didn’t mess about at all in the game. The lads dealt with him and Abou Diaby well, though. It was a great experience for them.”