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Nugent: “The young lads are learning about character”

Under 23s boss reflects on Crystal Palace visit

6 November 2018

Kevin Nugent has spoken of the importance of character-building amongst the Millwall Under 23s squad following Monday afternoon’s 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in the Professional Development League.

Two late Palace goals handed the young Lions a second successive defeat after eight previous games unbeaten, and Nugent claims that the team showed spells of quality, but must still learn from mistakes.

“It was a really tight, tough game in a local derby,” the Under 23s manager said.

“In patches we performed okay, but we’re disappointed not to have picked up at least a point. We were certainly better than the first half last week [against Colchester]. We’ve gone through all the clips, and there’s a lot of learning for these lads, of course.

“They’re learning about character – last week wasn’t good enough, and then in the last 20 minutes here I’m not sure if we showed the desire that we have done in recent weeks.”

The Palace side notably featured first-team players including Scott Dann, Jonny Williams and Sullay Kaikai – something Nugent believes is a positive test for his youngsters.

“It’s fantastic to play against high-calibre players. Everything we do is a real test, as these lads have to try and earn contracts and make themselves a career in football.

“To go out and test themselves against top players is great – and when the teams are reasonably evenly matched or possibly stronger than what we would be, it’s a real bonus.”

Goalkeeper David Martin was forced off in the second half due to a leg injury in the clash – Nugent states it should be merely short-term.

“[David] just took a whack and got a bit of a dead leg, and wasn’t able to take his next goal-kick so had to come off. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious.”

The young Lions now turn their attentions to a week on Friday, when they head to the Midlands to take on Coventry City in their next League fixture.

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