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Nugent analyses U23 draw with Sheffield United and season with young Lions

U23 boss reflects after finishing 2018/19 campaign

16 April 2019

Kevin Nugent has outlined the competitive nature of his Under 23s’ goalless draw with Sheffield United at Calmont Road, as Millwall brought the curtain down on their Professional Development League season.

A dominant ending to the game was just unable to produce a goal for Nugent’s side, but the youngsters’ manager has assessed a tough stalemate on Monday afternoon.

“It was a really tight game between two reasonably young sides in dry and windy conditions,” Nugent says.

“It was at times difficult to get the ball down and play, which can often be the case in the training ground games.

“But I thought it was very competitive and we really grew into it in the second half, and we probably deserved the three points on the whole.”

The clean sheet rounds off a season in which The Lions came out with the best defensive record in the Southern Section of the League, conceding just 31 goals.

“If you can’t win games, stay tight at the back and don’t lose them,” states Nugent.

“We’ve defended well this season – and that is the defenders, goalkeepers, and the rest of the team as well. If we get shape work done then we use that as a bit of a platform, and we believe that if we keep things tight then there is always a chance of winning the game.

“It’s always a priority that we try and drill into the lads.”

Tom King and Fred Onyedinma were again amongst the players featuring in Nugent’s team, alongside a number of U23 regulars and new Lions Academy graduates.

“We had a nice mix of players for the game,” Nugent claims.

“You could maybe tell a bit of inexperience earlier in the game – again as much through conditions as Sheffield United’s system – but we got to grips with that and started putting things into practice.”

Nugent finally touches on his reflection of the campaign as a whole, noting the progress that has been made by his young side.

“I think it’s been a reasonable season for us. There have been some ups and downs, and we were in the running for the top two promotion places until quite late in the season.

“There have certainly been some positives and plenty of progress to come out of it.”


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