Darren Davies pleased despite Charlton defeat

26th February 2022
Darren Davies

Swansea City Under-18s coach Darren Davies was pleased with large parts of his side’s performance despite a 4-2 defeat by league leaders Charlton Athletic.

Iwan Morgan scored twice for the Swans, but goals for Mack Reilly and Ryan Huke, as well as a Miles Leaburn brace, secured three points for the team currently 17 points clear in the Professional Development League south group.

Davies felt that his side’s performance warranted more from the game but they were made to pay for conceding poor goals.

“We always analyse the performance and within that there is a lot to be pleased with, the commitment and desire was fantastic, there is plenty to be pleased about even though it’s a disappointing result,” said Davies.

“The boys went right to the death and within that we played some very good football at times, the biggest learning from today was that we didn’t start the game well, we’ve conceded early goals all from set plays.

“We’ve conceded three goals from corners and one from a long throw into the box, there are circumstances around that, they had a very tall boy up front and in the first half we struggled to deal with him and he scored two and was involved in the others.

“We adjusted that in the second half, we spoke to the central defenders and the midfielders in front of them about how to deal with that threat, and once we nullified that threat and dealt with set pieces, then we were dominant in the second half.

“At 4-1 we had two big chances in the second half and if those two go in it was game on, it was really exciting and it was good youth football from our point of view.

“At half-time I said to the players that I want you to play better than them in the second half and win the game in the second half and they did that, the second half we won 1-0 and I think we played the majority of the good football if not all of the good football.

“It goes to show how far the group has come in recent months in that it’s our first defeat in 2022 and it was against the runaway leaders of this league, they are clear by a country mile.

“But we not only matched them, if you take the set pieces out of the equation, I think we played the better football.

“Big positives within that, the boys are actually really disappointed, once we nullified the threat of set pieces, they felt we actually should have won the game and I agree with them.

“Having such a long gap from our last game to this one wasn’t ideal, we had a bit of momentum going and that 21 day break killed that as such.

“That might have shown in the first 20 minutes, I don’t know really, we played a couple of friendlies, we’ve rotated, and people have had minutes, but in terms of match competition we were a little bit lacking and started slowly.”

Davies also had words of praise for Morgan after his brace, with the forward carrying a threat throughout.

“Iwan Morgan has been immense, but what I will say is that it’s about his continued development and keeping his feet on the floor and doing what he is good at and at the core of that is hard work, continued Davies.

“We’ve got him to a point where he is in a really good mental space, he’s playing extremely well and scoring goals.

“What I will say is that, yes Iwan Morgan is playing well but I don’t want to name names to isolate people because as a collective we are creating those chances for Iwan.

“He’s playing well and he’s scoring goals because of our front third press, and that involves our central defenders who are pushing people on and our wing backs who are pushing people high, our midfielders who are winning the ball and transitioning and Iwan is reaping the rewards of that, but it’s about the other 10 players behind him too.”