U23 NEWS

Unsworth Pinpoints Key Lessons After Leicester Loss

David Unsworth rued "bad decisions at crucial times" as Everton Under-23s went down to a 3-1 Premier League 2 defeat at Leicester City despite controlling much of the contest in Loughborough.

An injury-time goal from Rhys Hughes was scant consolation for the young Blues who had plenty of chances to get on the scoresheet and were punished at the other end for what was a harsh scoreline at the final whistle.

"What we’re trying to do is help these players achieve a level of consistency and a coach can only do so much," Unsworth told evertonfc.com at full-time. "These young players have been given an opportunity – probably earlier than they would ever have envisaged – but they are good young players.

"When things go against you as a young player, there’s a tendency for your head to drop and it’s really important how you start games. Tonight we conceded early on and that’s what’s happened.

"We spoke before the game about consistency. It’s all about that and at the moment we are a very inconsistent young team.

"We changed the way we played three times tonight and every time we changed we created opportunities but we can’t give away the type of goals that we did as you get punished.

"We just made bad decisions at crucial times. We controlled the game and played some great football but defensively we weren’t good enough in our box and we weren’t clinical enough in their box."

In a game where plenty of lessons will have been learnt for Unsworth's side, the young Blues showed promising signs and looked the more threatening side for much of the encounter.

But they were made to pay for a poor start and were left with an uphill task from there as they could not build on their 1-0 success over Derby County last time out.

Leicester took a sixth-minute lead when Kasey McAteer dribbled with ease inside from the left flank and saw his shot saved by Blues keeper Zan-Luk Leban only for Jacob Wakeling to finish from the rebound.

Despite the setback, Everton had most of the possession, playing patient, progressive football and managed to find forward Lewis Dobbin through the channels numerous times but he could not deliver the telling blow despite the hosts struggling to cope with his pace and dribbling skills.

It was Leicester who found the back of the net again on 34 minutes against the run of play as Tawande Maswinhise executed a clinical finish despite being ushered down the left side of the box by Reece Welch.

After the break, the Blues made a tactical switch, taking off defender Welch for forward Rafael Garcia and they continued to press forward - only for Leicester to deliver the crucial third on the hour mark.

After failing to clear a corner, the ball was played back to Sammy Braybrooke who played through Vontae Daley-Campbell down the right who drilled the ball into the bottom left corner.

The damage had unfortunately been done before Everton could come back and impose themselves on the match despite pegging the Leicester defence back with opportunities from the likes of Dobbin, Charlie Whitaker and Garcia.

A consolation came in the fourth minute of injury-time when Joe Anderson raced down the left-hand side and pulled the ball back for substitute Hughes to find space and drive a finish into the bottom corner.

It was too little, too late, however, as Everton look to pick themselves up for a league encounter at home to Manchester United in Southport on Friday (7pm BST).

Fans can watch a live stream of that encounter via our official YouTube channel.

Unsworth added: "I think we need our more senior players back in the team. Tyler [Onyango] is not far away from being fit, Einar [Iversen] is probably a month or two. There’s two or three players who have got a bit of experience and physicality as well which makes all the difference.

"The boys are learning and that’s part of the job as well. We don’t want to be losing games because we are Everton Football Club."