'That's the learning curve for us'


Steve Bould feels our under-21s can consider Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat to Peterborough in the Leasing.com Trophy as part of a valuable learning process.

Speaking after the defeat at London Road, Bould was keen to stress the invaluable lessons his side can learn from the fixture and facing a League One side in a competitive environment.

He spoke to Arsenal.com after the final whistle - and this is what he said:

on the performance…
I was delighted,  in the first half we gave them an awful lot of problems, we had a lot of the ball and a lot of the play in their half we maybe didn’t create as many chances as we would have liked but we had a couple where you think maybe [we should have scored] and I think they came out in the second half better and that's the learning curve for our kids, who are really young, they pressed and came at us and the learning curve was how do you get round that now. The kids are really disappointed and it ends up being an own goal basically. They had an awful lot of shots from long range and Matt Macey played really well and made some good saves but that's a strong Peterborough side and they take this competition very seriously so it was a really good test and regardless of the result, that's the kind of game that a lot of our kids aren't used to playing and it’s great that they get it 

on the positives of playing in the Leasing.com Trophy…
I think that the fact they're playing against men, we don't often get that. All throughout their careers they play against their same age, 11s against 11s, 12s against 12s they don't very often encounter until later in life men's football and these are proper pros, they know how to win games, they know what it's like to play against fans, they know what it is to have pressure, so our lads don't get that often enough. I think it's a great competition for that specifically, regardless whether we win, lose or draw, everybody's really disappointed that we've lost and that's right. But on the performance, they stood up in the second half, it was a different game to them than in the first half, they had to stand up and be men themselves so I was absolutely delighted with them. 

on the confidence in the squad… 
That's the first defeat this season [in 90 minutes across our under-23 and under-21 teams] and Saturday's performance wasn't anywhere near this performance. We looked like we had a bit more energy and a bit more about us today and it's something we spoke about before the game and they came good, so I was delighted in that. It's an entirely different way of playing football than the academy matches and, like I said, they learned and stood up and put on a really really good performance 

on the season so far…
We've been a little bit in and out, we haven't been that consistent and maybe I'm learning that too because it's not a consistent team, we don't know what first-team players we're going to have, we don't train with them and there's a lot of different things for the coaching staff to deal with too. It's not run as a team so I'm learning that so it's been a learning curve for myself. The lads, as a general rule, they've tried to do everything we've asked of them, they're a really good set and I think there's one or two decent players involved in the group who could go on and have really good careers. I'm delighted with all of them. 

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