EDS & Academy

Maresca: Blackburn test a useful experience

Enzo Maresca believes City EDS’ 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers will prove to be a useful learning experience.

The youngsters fought back from a goal down to earn a point in the Premier League 2, as Ben Knight’s second-half strike cancelled out Sam Burns’ opener.

With ten minutes remining, Blackburn were reduced to ten when Louis Annesley received a straight red card for denying Knight a clear goalscoring opportunity – but City were unable to capitalise on the man advantage.


Reflecting on the result, Maresca admits there is room for improvement but was pleased with his side’s effort against a strong Rovers outfit.

“It was a difficult game,” he said. “We already knew they were a good team – especially away.

“I think they have played five games and won four and drew one so we knew that.

“To be honest, we tried to play in a different way but for me, the effort was very good.

“We could maybe have controlled the game a little bit more. We conceded some counter-attacks we could have avoided but as I said from the beginning: it’s a journey where we have to learn many things and this is one of the things we have to learn.

“We had some very good moments but also struggled... but for me overall it was a good game.”

Focusing on positives, Maresca reserved praise for Knight and youngster Romeo Lavia on his step up into the Elite Development Squad.

“Ben has been working well from the beginning,” the manager declared.

“He knew that when we have all our players, he might struggle to find a place to play from the start but otherwise, he always works well.

“He knew that one week we would be giving him a chance and like the rest, he played well.

“If Romeo is with us, that means he is doing well. We are happy about him but after tonight and the last two games after the Christmas break, we are happy with all of the lads.”

Knight was equally pleased with his contribution, as well as his side's response to falling behind.

“I thought I was playing quite well before but then some of the lads dropped down so it was difficult,” he admitted, “but I just keep on going in training and then it’s nice to get on the scoresheet.

“I’d been injured for a month or so, so to come back and play the full 90 feels good and I’m happy.

“In the first half, I thought we played quite well,” he stated. “I didn’t think we deserved to be 1-0 down but that's sometimes how it goes.

“In the second half, we just had to keep going and we did and got the goal. We probably could have got another as well so I think we're disappointed not to have got three points... but one is better than nothing.

“We'd said at half-time to keep doing the same thing we were doing. We were playing well, and we just needed to take our chances and have more shots but nothing really changed too much.


“I think they did outrun us in the first half, so we had to keep going and towards the end, I thought we deserved the win.”

City are back in league action on Friday 5 February with the visit of Everton to the Academy Stadium with Maresca expecting a similarly testing encounter.

“We know have two days off but then we start to think about Everton,” he continued.

“I think it will be similar [to Monday’s game] so it will be a hard game but we will try to play good.”

Knight agreed: “It will be a tough game. They are always a good side.

“We beat them last minute away so I think we have positives to take into it but it will be a tough game.”

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