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Under-21s

Cooper – We have to bounce back

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth’s under-21 manager, Shaun Cooper, has spoken of the positives that can come from his side’s 3-1 defeat at Oxford in the Central League Cup.

Jordan Zemura scored the only goal for the Cherries, while there was drama in the second half after Nathan Moriah-Welsh was shown a straight red for a foul on Yellows winger, Jack Stevens.

Following the game, Cooper gave his reaction to afcb.co.uk.

“I thought it was a result we probably deserved off the back of how we played,” he said.

“We had a slow start to the game and we were on the back foot straight from the beginning. We payed the price for that sloppy start – we got out-fought, out-battled and, whenever the game got scrappy, they came out on top.

“The game was only ever going to go in one direction unless we sorted that out.

“We didn’t concede any goals in the second period, so you have to see that as a positive and it’s something we spoke about at half-time.

“We had a chat about that after the game too, but one disappointing positive is that, when we had a man sent off, the urgency appeared and that should’ve been there from the start.

“Credit to the lads because they did work hard when they were down to ten men but we need that there from the offset.

“We’ve had slow starts to a few games now, so we need to try and address it.”

Cooper went on to discuss the nature of academy football and how it can provide both good opportunities and learning curves for some of the younger members of his squad.

“We lost Jaidon [Anthony] and Gav [Kilkenny] today, who are in and around the first team,” he continued.

“The lads can’t play under-21s football forever, that’s why we’ve got so many out on loan or in-and-around the first team.

“There’s a couple out there today who are next in line to go and play first team football so the young lads do need to step up.

“It was a really windy day today, Oxford were bigger and stronger than us and we need to find a way to combat that.

“So, even though these games are frustrating at times, in the long-term they are really beneficial for the boys if they can take the lessons.

“There was a few choice words said afterwards, but they have to accept that, take the messages and bounce back to learn from it.

“That’s the stage they’re at and they are developing.”  

AFC Bournemouth’s under-21s will be looking to make it through in the Central League Cup by topping Group A, with one game remaining at home to Southend United in early December.

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