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Connell - A valuable lesson for our players


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Alan Connell picked out the learning opportunities for his squad after the Cherries drew 2-2 in their league game with Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday.

Goals either side of the break from Matt Burgess and Euan Pollock had put Connell's side into a commanding position at Canford Arena.

However, two goals from visiting striker Scott Crocker drew the game level late on, the game eventually ending all square.

After the EFL Youth Alliance match, Connell spoke to afcb.co.uk about what he hopes his side will take from the match.

"It was a really valuable lesson for our players," he said. "We've had games this season where we've been quite comfortable, today we knew it would be a really difficult game against Plymouth, they're a really competitive side and they showed that.

"From our perspective I feel we created enough chances to win the game and when you go 2-0 up you think you should see out the game from there.

"It's difficult, Plymouth were extremely aggressive to get after us which made it difficult to play, and at this club you have to be able to deal with that. I've said that many times before and the boys have shown that many times before.

"In general we did that quite well, you look at their two goals, with one it's hit someone's arm and a penalty and the other one's a ricochet leading to a loose ball.

"We didn't get opened up but we had to stop crosses, compete for first and second balls and do the things that the boys will need to do in their professional careers.

"I'm disappointed we haven't won the game but there are loads of lessons to take from today and if we can use these experiences to help us in the future then for me it's been a positive day."

Connell's side were pushed back in the latter stages of the game with Plymouth chasing their equaliser, and the manager explained how such situations will help with his squad's development, especially with a larger number of players now earning their chances.

He said: "Sometimes, we'll manage to find ways out through our in-possession work and sometimes we might ride out that storm, which we have done at times this season.

"We had players who played 45 minutes for the under-21s yesterday and then 90 minutes with us today, so physically we maybe dipped slightly, which is understandable.

"With the under-21s having injuries and some players out on loan our boys are getting pushed up and we are stretched at the moment. Everyone's getting game time, and that's good."

Two players taking hold of starting berths on Tuesday were defender Abdi Mohamed and midfielder Ferdinand Okoh, both of whom earned praise from Connell.

"With the opportunities players are getting Abdi and Ferdinand came in today having not played loads recently. I thought they can both be pleased with their day's work, they looked like they've been playing every week," said the manager.

"That's a credit to them. It's important that all of the boys are ready, you have to be. In football you must be ready when you chance comes, and those two boys have done themselves no harm today.

"We move onto Yeovil on Saturday, the under-21s are playing as well so we'll be light. We're looking forward to the home game and hopefully producing a performance to win the game."

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