Shaq Coulthirst marked his first appearance in the Barclays U21 Premier League with a goal, Giancarlo Gallifuoco impressed in a new central defensive role while Chris, our Senior Development Phase Coach, also praised the performances of wide men Cristian Ceballos and Alex Pritchard.
Cristian set-up Shaq’s header in the 11th minute and when Alex made something out of nothing from a tight angle for 2-0 minutes later, we looked on for another victory.
Saints had other ideas thought and rallied well with Ben Reeves scoring before the break and just after the hour to secure a point in this Elite Group encounter at the new Training Centre.
“Even though we went 2-0 up, the first half performance wasn’t of the standard we’ve become accustomed to,” said Chris. “In fact, even though we ended up drawing the game, we played better in the second half, more the way we like to play.
“Our decision making was a little off key, but that’s what happens when you are in this development phase.
“We made changes, but that’s what it’s about and why we say winning games isn’t everything, we have to make sure the players know the principles of how we want to play at this club.
“Shaq played up front for the first time for us and scored. He took his goal well. It’s a learning curve for him and he has someone like Les Ferdinand in there to help him develop that role. He stepped into men’s football and adapted well.
“Alex Pritchard and Cristian Ceballos were always a threat. Look at Giancarlo Gallifuoco (pictured above) as well, he’s changed his position, played centre-half and we’re trying him in there to give him another way of developing his overall game.
“So individually, there were positives, but team-wise and cohesion-wise, we’ve been better.”
The team has lost just one in the last 10 in the Barclays U21 Premier League and return to action against West Ham on Monday week, February 4.