Interview

Ljungberg - Injuries disrupted our rhythm

Freddie Ljungberg

Our under-23s delivered an encouraging second-half performance against top of the table Everton on Monday night - but injuries stifled our play in the opening 45 minutes. 

Joseph Olowu sustained a knock in the first half and eventually left the pitch in the 39th minute, sparking a change in shape and personnel for Freddie Ljungberg’s side.

We spoke to our head coach after the final whistle - and this is what he said:

on whether it was a fair result...
I think it was a fair result in the end that we drew. There could have been some goals for them and some goals for us, so it’s a fair result. We had some injuries at the beginning of the game and we had to make some changes, so there were a few changes we had to do. This changes the mentality of the game but I think we came out in the second half and played much better. We played with more aggression, positivity, we switched the ball and used the ball how we normally play, so I’m pleased with the second half, but unfortunately we just couldn’t score some goals.

on handling the pressure that Everton placed on the team…
You know Everton, they normally play a bit older and a bit bigger and a bit more physical, and they did that. We knew that beforehand but I felt that the rhythm disappeared a little bit because we had to change because of injuries and we had to fix a little bit, so the boys did well to come in at half-time with the score at 0-0, and then in the second half we were the better side in my opinion and we reacted, but we just couldn't get that goal to win the game. 

on Eddie Nketiah missing two chances…
If you want to have a chance than he’s the person you’d want it to fall to, but it wasn’t to be today. He had two chances that I imagine normally he would put nine out of 10 in the net, but that’s how it is sometimes and we’ll keep on going. We are developing and that’s what we’re trying to do.

on Daniel Ballard’s fine form…
He’s improving and a lot of players are, but Danny has done really well and what I feel is that we have a lot of under-18s players coming in and it’s like a team. Everybody fights for each other and it’s not just one player here or there, they all try together and I think that showed. I’m really proud of them for that.

on going seven games unbeaten…
They’re doing really well and Zech was with the first-team in their squad, so everybody is over the moon and so am I. That’s something for us to think about because that’s what we’re here to do. It’s a great day because of that so if we could have won it would have been even better!

on the busy period coming up…
We’re rotating a little bit because I think it’s five games in 20 days so it’s tough for the young boys, but we’re trying to rotate them to help them get through it, but at the same time, that’s what playing men’s football is like. If you want to play Champions League it’s Saturday, Wednesday and then maybe Sunday, so they need to get used to it.