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Academy manager praises U23s’ ‘great attitude’

29 November 2016

Lee Herron reflects on an impressive performance from the U23s against Manchester United...

Royals Academy manager, Lee Herron, was pleased with the U23s' performance on Monday evening against Manchester United, and feels Reading deserved more than the point they earned from the meeting with the Red Devils at Adam Park.

Herron praised the way the Royals controlled possession in the Premier League 2 fixture, and believed the second half display merited more than the score line suggested for the home side.

“It was an interesting game, reflected Herron. “Results-wise I think we had the chances to win the game and I felt throughout, with the performance, the boys did really well.

“We controlled the ball and the game and that enabled us to play the way we wanted to, especially in the second half. We’re happy with the performance of the young players, we had a couple of mistakes for their goals which you do get at this level of football sometimes, but the attitude is to bounce back from that, which they did.”

After taking the lead in the first half, two goals in quick succession from United forward Josh Harrop turned the score on its head going into the break.

The Royals dug in however, and produced a fine second half display, with the Academy manager particularly complimentary of the way the team reacted and bounced-back after falling behind.

“We were on top in the first half and then in the space of a minute and a half we were 2-1 down,” said Herron. “But then you have to make sure you get yourself and the group of players back together and keep to the plan.

“We felt our way back into the game because you can get wobbled by those moments. Second half we were the dominant force. The fact that our possession wore them down is incredible because sometimes you forget that you are playing against Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, with one of the best youth set ups in the world.

“When you can keep the ball for long periods of the game it can really hurt the opponent,” he continued. “I think you saw that come into effect in the last 15-20 minutes.”

Herron is happy with the experience many of the young Reading players have gained over the last few weeks, even if results haven’t always gone their way.

He underlined the fact the Royals are testing themselves against the highest calibre of opponent at youth level, something which is fantastic for their development. 

“You look at the result, the performance as a group and you look at the individuals, I think the boys will be disappointed because they feel we could’ve won it,” admitted the Academy manager.  “These competitions that we’re in as a development group are incredible.

“The run of games we are playing includes Manchester United, Liverpool, Athletic Bilbao and with Manchester City and Hertha Berlin coming up. It just shows how far we have come as a football club and as an Academy that we’re playing these type of games. That’s what we want for these young players because it is only going to make them better.”

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