Jon Grey | Plenty of positives despite PL Cup exit
Swansea City Under-23s coach Jon Grey insists there are plenty of positives to focus on despite the development side’s exit from the Premier League Cup.
Having reached at least the semi-finals in each of the past three years – lifting the trophy in 2017 – the young Swans bowed out of the competition in the group stage after collecting just four points from their opening five games.
Their elimination was confirmed following Charlton Athletic’s victory over Colchester United on Monday, which leaves them five points adrift of the top two with just one game remaining in Group A.
However, results aside, this season’s competition has been a hugely productive one for the Swans, who have utilised a total of 32 players across their five games.
Eight of them have been handed debuts at under-23 level in the tournament, including Ali Al-Hamadi, Ben Erickson, Lewis Webb and Will Rickard, as well as 15-year-old Joel Cotterill.
Swansea’s hopes of progressing were effectively ended as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Reading on Saturday at Landore.
Nevertheless, Grey was proud of his players’ reaction to their 4-0 defeat by Newcastle United just five days earlier.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed to go out, but there have been lots of positives to come from the competition this year,” the under-23s coach said.
“At the start of the season, one of the targets we set was to play a younger team in this competition and give players the opportunity to impress.
“So many players have made their debuts at this level.
“We were delighted with the application and performance from all the players involved against Reading on Saturday.
“It was a really productive day and the boys must be proud of the way they played from start to finish.
“We asked for a reaction to the Newcastle defeat and we got one. We played some really nice football in spells and had good periods of possession.
“The players did everything we asked of them. They were just unlucky not to hold on for the win.”