EDS & Academy

Barry-Murphy: Leicester triumph a valuable learning experience

Elite Development Squad boss Brian Barry-Murphy believes his players will have learned a lot from our hard-fought 3-1 win over Leicester in Premier League 2.

Second half goals from substitutes Dire Mebude and Jadel Katongo were enough to see City over the line and maintain our winning start to the season.

Our young blues were pushed all the way by the visitors, who had equalised on the stroke of half-time to cancel our Carlos Borges’ well-taken opener.

And Barry-Murphy insists that the response mounted to that setback will stand his players in good stead as we look to retain the PL2 title for a record third consecutive season.

“I think the most interesting thing for me today was to have the first taste of what it’s like to concede a goal against an opponent who are going to test you in different ways,” he reflected.

“The reaction to that was good. It can be hard for young players because they don’t get the tests that they’ll face this season before.

“The only way you can do it is to feel it, see what happens on the pitch and learn from it. Some of our players experienced it last season but a lot haven’t.

“They’re the key moments in the early part of the season for me to see what it looks like when we concede or go behind in games. It can be very beneficial in how they learn and improve.

“It never feels nice in the moment, but you can always reference those things during the season. You learn more from the difficult games and the tough runs.

“We never want to lose games but it’s part of the inevitable course that is football.”

Mebude’s introduction from the bench proved vital in City’s eventual victory, with the winger’s clinical finish his third PL2 strike in just two matches.

A key fixture in our Under-18s’ march to the National title last season, the youngster has continued that fine progress with our EDS.

And Barry-Murphy believes the competitive nature of the squad, with a number of players vying for a starting berth on a weekly basis, is bringing out the best in both Mebude and his teammates.

The boss said of Mebude: “He had a lot of goals and assists in the Under-18s last season, the challenge now is for him to become as consistent at this level as he adapts to the different demands.

“He’s very exciting player to watch, he’s got a lot of stuff that he can improve on, he knows that, but I think what’s most exciting of all is that he’s willing to focus and really improve his all-round game.

“I think we have a small group and I want it to be as competitive as possible, so I almost wasn’t swayed by the fact that he got two goals last week.

“The whole group has to be judged on merit and everyone has to be given an opportunity and if the lads are battling to compete with each other, I think it will be very healthy for the group this season.”

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