Mehmet on Villa defeat and Nwaneri brace

Mehmet Ali was pleased with our willingness and attacking intent in the second half of Monday’s 5-3 defeat at home to Aston Villa under-21s.

The visitors went 5-1 up but two late goals from Ethan Nwaneri demonstrated our commitment to fight until the final whistle.

“I felt like we started the game well,” Mehmet said. “Obviously we went 1-0 up, we had good momentum, we had another couple of opportunities, but if you give teams opportunities like we did in 21s football then they’re going to punish you can credit to Aston Villa. They showed resilience because we started better but they kept going, got their rewards and got their goals and then we were chasing the game.

“Credit to our boys because we kept going, we kept going, we kept pushing, but when that happens you’re always likely to concede maybe from a transition and that’s what happened as the second half went on but we didn’t quit. We carried on going, which was good to see but, overall, if you give away goals like we did, you don’t deserve to win the game.”

We have two away games up next to finish the Premier League 2 season before a play-off match, and Mehmet will be looking for the team to learn from Monday night.

“Collectively as a group of staff and players we’ll reflect and look at where we went wrong and how we can improve,” he said. “But there were some positive individual performances but ultimately it wasn’t good enough as a team.”

Nwaneri’s brace - one a beautiful curling strike into the top left corner and the other a tap-in after a brilliant team move - took him up to 10 goals in 11 PL2 games this season.

“Ethan’s got a very ruthless streak in him when it comes to scoring goals,” Mehmet added. “He’s got very good finishing which he’s shown at 21s level, which is really pleasing. He also needs to look at what he can do to improve and aspire to get into our first team.”

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