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Under-21s

Cooper – The lads showed grit, character and bravery

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Shaun Cooper has praised his side’s application and effort following their 4-1 defeat to a Wycombe Wanderers XI at Adams Park.

Jaidon Anthony was on the scoresheet for the Cherries, while an Alex Samuel hat-trick and Gareth McCleary strike sealed it for the Chariboys.  

Following the game, manager Cooper admitted to afcb.co.uk that there were plenty of positives to take away from Buckinghamshire.

“I actually thought the lads showed really good character and worked really hard,” he began.

“They showed a lot of grit, character and bravery to carry on trying.  

“Obviously, we scored a goal in the second half. It was a good goal from Jaidon [Anthony] and we should’ve scored another one, but it was tough for us to fashion our chances and break them down.

“They were a strong team, so we had to be really precise in what we did and, under the pressure they put us under, we didn’t quite do that often enough.”

Cooper continued to emphasise the challenges his side faced and discussed where he believes the game was won and lost this afternoon.

“I thought today we started slowly," he admitted. 

“The first 30 minutes, I thought we were poor and, technically with the ball, it probably took us a while to get up to speed with the physicality of the game as they had quicker, stronger and more powerful players.

“The last 15 minutes of the first half, I think we finished quite well and quite strongly.

“It was a strange one in the second half because, in truth, we could’ve conceded a lot more goals. I thought Cameron [Plain] made some excellent saves and there were some great stops from him.

“All things considered, whilst we could’ve conceded a lot more, I thought there were a lot of positives in the second half.”

The former Cherries defender went on to highlight the value in playing against men’s opposition and the lessons it can teach his young squad.

“Today’s game is different to the pre-season ones because, with all due respect, these were physical, they had good ability and they were good at what they do, so it’s good exposure for the lads,” he continued.

“We spoke after about that and that’s where they’ve got to be. Today, we took too long to realise it.

“The spaces closed up a bit quicker, they can kick the ball a bit further, they can jump higher. Once our lads grasped that, they did ok and it was a good experience for them.”

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