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We'll learn from loss - academy coach

25 January 2021

Club News

We'll learn from loss - academy coach

25 January 2021

Under-18s coach Mike Whitlow hopes his players ‘will learn’ from derby day defeat ahead of their return fixture against Notts County.

Two strikes late in the first-half put the Stags on the back foot going into the second, and, despite a reaction from the young guns, County sealed the result 10 minutes from time with a spot-kick.

After a promising opening, where his side appeared to adapt quickest to the snowstorm, Whitlow was disappointed with the manner that the match got away from them just before the break.

“For 10 minutes to start,'' Whitlow said. “The game is [about] learning how to play the conditions.

“[Then] they put them two balls into our box that we've not dealt with, and all of a sudden you go 2-0 down and you're on the back foot.

“Collectively and individually, there weren't the levels that were there [on Tuesday] out of possession, in what were tough conditions today.

“The pitch was covered in snow, it was difficult, and Notts County were direct and competed.
“They put us under pressure, and we didn't deal with that.
“You've got to win your individual battles, and collective battles in units, and I think that was the most disappointing thing to see after Tuesday, that they didn't take [that] on and keep that level of performance.”

Whitlow also revealed that he and his coaching staff have challenged the players to grow from today as they look to move further on in their careers.

“[They] go home at the weekend, [and] we’ve asked the lads to have a think.

“They've got to take on board and develop their knowledge of what their role in their game is, to give themselves an opportunity week in, week out [by] consistently improving to get to a level to earn a professional contract.

“It's tough, it's a tough old gig to get there, but today fell a little bit short in terms of a team winning battles.”

Aside from the result, Whitlow was impressed by the performances of his young substitutes, and Taylor Anderson, who was in from the start once again.

“I thought Jonty Bouch came on and competed very, very well in the centre of the park,” he said.

“It was great to see Oliver Wilson, the under-16, come on [for the] first time and gain an experience of getting 30 minutes with the under-18s today, so that was a plus.

“And young Taylor Anderson was in there again, so [that’s] 20-odd games this year he's played now with the under-18's as an under-16, so we'll take them things out of today.”

Having handed over the Matt Salmon Trophy minutes earlier, Whitlow paid tribute to the late Academy physiotherapist and admits that attention turns to winning it back in 10 days’ time.

“Matt [Salmon] was an absolute star here and helped the club over a number of years in setting up the Academy, and the work he's done at both clubs.

“The trophy's there, and it means a lot, so it's disappointing that they've won it today, but we’ll have another go in a couple of weeks when we meet them again.

“Hopefully, the lads will learn from today, and let's go and try and win the trophy back.”

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