Academy

Press conference

‘This resilience is who we are as a club’

U-23s Manager Kevin Betsy

We went top of the Premier League 2 table after a hard-fought 3-2 win over Blackburn Rovers on Monday night.

Folarin Balogun's late winner secured the three points after we were reduced to 10 men just eight minutes into the second half.

After the match, Kevin Betsy gave his assessment of our performance and the team's fighting spirit.

“First of all huge credit to Blackburn, they put on a really good performance in the second half and made it really difficult," he said.

"Our performance in the first half was exceptional at times, some of the movements, the patterns of play and the chances we created were excellent. 

"We could have been 3-0 up in the first half, their keeper made some fantastic saves, but we took our goals well.

"We knew it was 2-0 at half time and they came back against Liverpool and drew 2-2 here in their last home game, so we knew what to expect in the second half.

"I just felt we didn't control the ball in the first five or 10 minutes of the second half, we had a really good chance to go 3-0 up with Flo [Balogun] with a left-foot strike, but the keeper saved it, that goes in and it's probably put to bed.

"But then they showed good resilience, I think it was a bit harsh the sending off and also the penalty, but we respect the referee, he made the decision and we just have to get on with it.”

The win marks the second impressive comeback in as many league games for us and the boss was keen to praise the players’ resilience.

“The group has got tremendous character," he said.

"They've done this before with 10 men in the past this season and come up with a win when it looks like we could lose, there's fantastic character amongst the players tonight.

“It's part of our identity, it's part of who we are as a club, developing strong young Gunners here at Arsenal, it's credit to the players. 

"They've done it numerous times this season, It's not a fluke. 

“When the chips are down or it looks like we might lose a game or come away with just a draw, they find a way to win the game and it shows great resilience and character.

"Credit to the guys, they work really hard in training every single day and they get their rewards come match day."

04:00

U-23s: Blackburn (a) - Highlights

Post-Match Report

Match report: Arsenal U-23s 3-5 Derby County

Folarin Balogun scoring for Arsenal under-23s

WHAT HAPPENED

Folarin Balogun scored a hat-trick but we were beaten 5-3 by Derby County in the Premier League 2 on Friday night.

Kevin Betsy's side could not take full control of the match against a Rams side that started the night bottom of the table.

We were punished for some early confusion at the back after just three minutes, Louie Sibley catching out Ovie Ejeheri with a strike at his near post.

Balogun drew us level six minutes later with a brilliant first-time finish, finding the top corner with a side-footed effort from just inside the box.

Our captain then gave us the lead midway through the first half, pouncing on a mistake in the Derby defence to collect the ball and score from close range.

The visitors drew level with 15 minutes left in the half after we failed to deal with a low cross and Luke Plange's effort deflected off James Olayinka and beyond Ejeheri.

We endured a nightmare start to the second half, Plange scoring in style from 20 yards just three minutes after the restart.

Derby extended their advantage soon afterwards, as Dixon raced in unmarked at the far post and headed home after Plange's shot was deflected high over Ejeheri.

Sibley scored the visitors’ fifth and his second of the game, spinning in behind our defence and firing into the roof of the net from a tight angle.

Balogun completed his hat-trick in fine fashion, cutting in from the left, turning the Derby defence inside out, before curling one right into the top corner from 18 yards out.

Our captain's efforts were ultimately in vain as there was to be no comeback for us on this occasion.

WHAT IT MEANS

Defeat ends our four-match unbeaten run and sees us drop down to second place in the Premier League 2 table.

WHAT'S NEXT

We're back in action Monday, December 6, when we face Everton away.

The match will kick-off at 7pm (UK).

06:28

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