BURTON Albion Player Performance Coach Shaun Barker was left disappointed after their draw with Salford City in the Youth Alliance Cup at St. George’s Park.
In a game that saw the Young Brewers create numerous opportunities to clinch all three points, Albion were left to rue a poor first half performance and leave with just a point.
After the game, Barker said: “If I’m being honest we’re disappointed, you can’t start a game of football after 45 minutes. We’ve tried to set a mantra this week in terms of intensity, being aggressive on the front foot out of possession and in possession.
“We want the lads to run around and work hard first and foremost which is something we didn’t do in the first 45 minutes. They got a bit of a telling off at half time and you saw the difference in the second half.”
Despite what they players gave in the second half, Barker was keen to point out that a reaction is not what he’s looking for. He explained: “I don’t want a reaction, they should be proactive, Gilly (Keith Gilroy) is trying to set up a team that starts from the first whistle and they shouldn’t be waiting to go a goal down or wait to get told what to do.
“The better players that will naturally progress are always the players that are driven, those that will always do it from the first whistle and play with real intensity. It sounds simple but it’s how you arrive, how you do your warmups and how you start the game goes a long way."
Barker told us that he’s very keen for a good cup run as we’ve seen in previous years but the most important thing is that the boys keep winning games. “Of course we want to go far but ultimately we look to compete and try and win every game, you have to have the desire to win games whatever match you play in whether it’s a cup, friendly or in the league,” he said.
As we saw a thin squad with saw players in it, Barker reiterated how important that lads step up and show what they have. “It’s opportunities, it’s part of development and it’s part of the process.”
“You’re going to miss players and you hope that some of the second years get a taste of first team football. We’ve had first years who’ve come out and really impressed us and it’s nice that a couple of the 16’s get a taste of it as well.”
Young Brewers centre-back Cameron Gilbert and winger Che Ranger felt that the side were unlucky to only come away with a point.
After a lacklustre first half, Gilbert was keen to emphasise the teams bouncebackability in the second half, saying: “In the first half we weren’t aggressive enough, we didn’t press enough and it completely changed after the first five minutes of the second half, we wanted to win and we wanted to get the ball back."
“Eventually we got the goal but I think we could’ve got another."
Ranger also acknowledged the team's poor first half performance but was impressed with the teams second half performance. After the game, he said: “Today we started slow but we built ourselves into the game, the draw is not too bad but I think we deserved the win. I feel like we were quite unlucky as we had quite a few big chances to win it towards the end of the game so I feel like we could’ve won the game.”
Speaking on the tactical changes as the game went on, Gilbert thought that the change from two to three in midfield defiantly helped the Brewers in the second half. “We got a bit more control over the game and we looked a lot more solid especially when we played the long ball over the top, we got more second balls and we were more of a threat in behind.”
Ranger gave us an insight into the sides aspirations for the season ahead, saying: “The management just want us to go out and just play and enjoy ourselves cos it’s a cup game, it’s a big opportunity for all of us.”