Mehmet Ali has shared his thoughts on our 5-2 defeat to Reading in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy on Tuesday night.
“I think if you’re a neutral watching that game you’d be thoroughly entertained,” he said. “I thought it was end-to-end football with both teams going toe-to-toe.
“Having said that, I was frustrated with the goals and the manner in which we gave those goals away, it was poor. There were a lot of unforced errors, but credit to Reading, they pressed high, they were aggressive, their game plan was good, but we have to be able to cope and deal with that and understand when to play and when to play to our last line and we didn’t do that well enough tonight and we got punished.
“When I look at it, for some of our players it’s a great shock to their system to see the level of League One footballers. They won their other games in this competition nine and 5-0, so they’re a good side and have done well.
“I’m just disappointed because I felt it was an opportunity for some of our lads to really showcase their ability and we didn’t do that well enough tonight.”
Not only did our Under-21s get the opportunity to play against League One footballers, they also got to play with experienced first-team squad members Reiss Nelson and Fabio Vieira.
“Reiss and Fabio were excellent,” Mehmet said. “They trained with us yesterday and have got very good mentalities and attitudes.
“You saw Reiss picking up the ball, going for his man and he had lots of positive moments, so if they want to get to that level and be playing for our first team, then there’s loads that we’ve got to work on and improve.
“Credit to my lads, they’re a good bunch of lads and they graft every single day and they will get better and improve and it was a great game for them to be involved in tonight and an opportunity for them to see that we’ve got to get better.”
We’re through to the knockout stages of the competition after finishing second in Group O, so we can expect to face another senior side in the next round.
“We love playing against senior opposition and hopefully it will be another game like it was tonight, but us improving and getting better than what we did tonight and progressing in the tournament,” Mehmet said.
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