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Devaney: “I thought our attitude was fantastic."

U23s coach delighted with first win of the campaign

21 August 2019

Martin Devaney praised his side’s attitude following Tuesday afternoon’s victory over Cardiff City.

The young Reds ran out 3-1 winners at the Oakwell Training Ground courtesy of an Elliot Simoes double and one from Tommy Willard.

It was the perfect response from our U23s, who suffered an unfortunate defeat at Coventry City in their Professional Development League opener.

“I was really pleased with the reaction,” insisted Devaney. “Obviously, the week before we played well and the result didn’t really replicate that.

“I thought our attitude was fantastic, though, after conceding a penalty early on and to react in the way we did was extremely pleasing. Elliot took his goals very well and it was great to see what we’ve been working on in training come to fruition in the game.”

All three Barnsley goals were of the highest quality, with two fine finishes by Simoes either side of Willard rounding off a tremendous team move.

It was the second goal, in particular, that delighted Devaney, who watched on as his young side passed their way through a helpless Bluebirds’ defence.

“I’m really pleased with the second goal in terms of the team,” eulogised the U23s coach. “The timing of Jordan’s run, intricate passing around the 18-yard box and Tommy staying between the posts when the ball comes in – he arrived really well and it was a well-worked goal.

“I spoke to Elliot in the week about his standards, so he’ll be really pleased because he’s got the ability to do that. We just need to see him being more consistent now.”

Another positive was the first appearance in a Red shirt for Clarke Oduor, who arrived at the club from Leeds United on transfer deadline day.

The versatile youngster completed 73 minutes before being replaced by Keaton Ward, and Devaney says he got better as the game went on.

“Clarke came in at the last minute, so we had to do some work with him beforehand,” continued the former Reds winger. “But I thought he did well and grew into the game, particularly in the second half.

“He grew into his position and is very fluid on the ball, has good skills and I think he’ll be really pleased. I’m sure it’ll be the first of many appearances and hopefully he’ll be with the first team.”

Up next for our U23s is a trip to Bristol City on Tuesday afternoon. Like Barnsley, the Robins have won one and lost one of their opening two fixtures, with Luke Williams’ side responding from an opening day loss to Nottingham Forest by thrashing Wigan Athletic 4-1 on Monday.

The match will be played at Ashton Gate and Devaney believes his young side should embrace and enjoy that experience.

“They should go there full of confidence and we’re playing at the stadium, which will be another experience for them,” he said. “It’ll be tough, but in terms of their development we set high standards as individuals and we need to find that consistency. It’s another opportunity to play football and keep learning.”

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