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Devaney: "They acquitted themselves well."

25 July 2018

Barnsley U23s coach Martin Devaney praised his side following their 2-0 pre-season friendly defeat against Sunderland on Tuesday afternoon.

The young Reds were pegged back by second half goals from Jack Diamond and Benjamin Mbunga-Kimpioka at the Academy of Light, but Devaney insists his team deserved more from the game.

“For the first 70 minutes we were the better team,” said the U23s coach. “We passed the ball really well, retained possession and were much more creative but, unfortunately, we were unable to trouble their goalkeeper.

“I think it took us until the last few minutes to get a shot on target, and their ‘keeper has done really well to save it. So, overall, the performance from our lads was brilliant and they will learn from those mistakes because, at the end of the day, it was two errors that led to their goals.

“But I think the boys were tired – there were some tired legs out there in the end, but that’s the whole point of pre-season and we’re going to be ready for when the new campaign gets underway in a couple of weeks.”

Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League 2 Division One at the end of last season, but remain a Category One academy.

Devaney believes his young side can be encouraged by their display against the Black Cats and can take these positives into the upcoming Professional Development League campaign.

“I thought, given that Sunderland are a Category One academy, the boys acquitted themselves really well,”  continued Devaney. “To have played the better football against a team of that quality and limited their opportunities throughout the game is a testament to the lads.

“If they can maintain this level of performances when the new season begins then I’m confident of a very productive and entertaining season.”

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