U23 boss reviews win against Citizens and looks ahead to RoversReading’s Under-23 manager Martin Kuhl was impressed with the way that his young team performed in last Friday’s 3-2 win against Man City at Madejski Stadium, as they showed a range of qualities to earn the result.
Kuhl fielded a young squad in which half of the 14 players used were still in their teenage years, including 17-year-old left-back Tom McIntyre who is still in the Academy, as well as first-year pros Luke Southwood, Gabriel Osho and Josh Barrett who formed the spine of the team.
The first half was all about attacking brilliance from the Royals, as goals by Sandro Wieser, Tariqe Fosu and McIntyre had Reading firmly in command at the break. The second half required a bit more grit as a resolute City side got back into the game with a couple of goals – but couldn’t force the equaliser from a stern defence.
“I thought we played very well in the first half – we thorough deserved the three goals, and we knew that they would come at us in the second half and make things difficult,” Kuhl said after the match. “They have some good players and they scored a couple of goals which meant we had to hang on a bit at the end, but the lads dug in.
“We said to them at half-time that the first half had been very good but that the second half would be different as we knew they would come at us. We are playing in a certain way to add a bit more belief, a bit more angles and quality. We had spells in the second half when we had possession, but they got on top. But it’s about learning different ways and trusting each other to play.
“It was a first game for people like Jake Sheppard and they were probably feeling in their legs a bit towards the end. But it was a hard-fought win after a very good first half.
“We put out a different team to the one that played against Tottenham, which was probably a stronger squad, but I thought the young lads did really well.”
Kuhl will take another young side to the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday evening to face Bristol Rovers in the group stage of the Checkatrade Trophy.
He won’t have a full complement of his squad to choose from, owing to so many being away on international duty, but he is pleased that they will have the opportunity to show what they can do.
“We’ve got some internationals away and a lot of the young lads are away as well, which of course is great for the club,” he continued.
“But the opportunity is good for us. The Premier League International Cup pits us against adult reserve teams from some strong European teams, and EFL Trophy gives our boys a chance to visit Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers – for us it’s fantastic.”