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YOUTH: A very young group

5 August 2014

Academy manager Alan Moore with reaction to the Tranmere game

Academy manager Alan Moore gave us his reaction to the opening day defeat against Tranmere on Saturday.

"It was a disappointing start," he said. "I always try and take the positives out of every game, but the only positive I can take from this one is that we don't have to play the opening game of the season again.

"We didn't turn up at all and we were second best all over the pitch. Tranmere got four goals but they probably deserved more. The main thing is that the first years have now got that out of their system. 

"We've got a very young group and a lot of the first years are part of the back four, so it will take a while for them to adjust. They're playing lads who are a year older, physically stronger and who have had a year of playing full-time football. You do have to bear that in mind but we still expect people to compete. I've had it before where the back four is made up of first years and they will make mistakes."

"We could sense before kick off that the lads were nervous because it was their first league game," he told us. "They were a bit quiet in the warm up, which was totally different to how they've been before the friendlies. 

"They know in a friendly there's no pressure, and we can put a lot of subs on, but it actually meant something on Saturday. We have to look at how they handle nerves because their aim has to be to get a professional contract. They should feel better about everything now that they've got this first game out of their system.

"We've got another friendly on Tuesday night which will give them a chance to get back into the swing of things. We have to remember it's a two year process so as much as we expect from them they do have plenty of time to learn from their mistakes."

"We did get a response in the second half," he continued. "We played a lot in their half of the pitch after the break but we would expect that from the first minute. They shouldn't have to be two goals down before they start playing and they will need to get used to being ready from the off.  

"The lads were down after the game but the friendly on Tuesday means they'll have to pick themselves up quickly. We've shown a few of the lads some footage, to explain what we're asking them to do, because they've all got different ways of learning. We're after performance rather than results but if you'd don't perform, you won't get the results, and Saturday proved that.

"We don't mention results to the lads and we asked them to keep doing what they were doing in the friendlies before the game. If they play well but don't get a result it doesn't make a difference to us. We've got a lot of first years who are still adapting to full time football, and the second years are now under more pressure, so they all need to adjust.

"We're constantly reminding them that it's a process and we know that nobody is going to have a perfect game at this stage. As long as they concentrate on their individual jobs, their job as a unit and their job as a team, they will keep learning and our job as coaches will be done."

United - Eccles, Hurley, Douglas, Taylor, Marshall, White, Moyes, Pearson, Hammell, Elliott (McCue 67), Bradbury. Subs - Fowler, Rudd, Holt, Studholme.

Goals - McCue (75), Bradbury (86)

Bookings - Moyes (24)

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