Steve Beaglehole

Time To Regroup, Says Beaglehole

Coach Steve Beaglehole believes the Christmas break has come at the right time for Leicester City's Development Squad, who will look to enter the second round of Premier League 2 fixtures reenergised.
More on this story...

- Leicester City's Development Squad were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal Under-23s on Friday night
- Darragh O'Connor headed home a Demarai Gray free-kick to level the scores at Meadow Park
- But it was the home side who came out on top in the Premier League 2 Division 1 clash
- Steve Beaglehole says the team are ready for some time away from the pitch to regroup ahead of 2021

Darragh O'Connor's equaliser looked to have earned the Foxes a point from their final away game of the year, before Arsenal produced a late winner to snatch all three points at Meadow Park on Friday.

Speaking after that narrow 2-1 reverse, Beaglehole told that he could not argue with the end result, though felt City could have done more to prevent the two goals they conceded.

"I thought Arsenal probably deserved to win the game," City's Senior Professional Development Phase Coach reflected. "They had more of the ball, they had a strong side out, they've got some quality players.

"They looked more dangerous than we did in the final third. Having said that, the two goals that we've conceded are absolutely scandalous in my opinion.

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Demarai Gray
Demarai Gray

Demarai Gray assisted Darragh O'Connor's goal at the end of the first half.

"Giving the ball away cheaply, the first goal we've been weak in the tackle on the flank, we've not dealt with it when the boy has got to the byline, we've let them have a shot and Jakub [Stolarczyk] should have probably done better with it.

"So that's a poor goal that puts you on the back foot after seven minutes and then we get back in the game. Demarai [Gray] was fantastic and it's looking like it's going to be a draw, which would have been a credible draw.

"But then Khanya Leshabela gets the ball in midfield, he wins it back, he's in a good position, he can play a simple ball, he doesn't, he turns out and loses possession in an area that is dangerous. They've shown us the quality that they've got and stuck it in for 2-1."

Beaglehole felt there were still some positives to take from the defeat, including performances from some of the younger players in the squad.

"We've blooded some youngsters in," he explained. "Ben Nelson, I think he's shown the qualities he's got. We put him in midfield for a spell and he did well in there and then we went back to a five.

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Calum Chambers & Islam Slimani
Calum Chambers & Islam Slimani

Calum Chambers was on the scoresheet for the Gunners in Friday night's encounter.

"He's 16 years of age playing at Under-23s level against sides like this with players that have played in the Premier League, he's done ever so well.

"We've played the three centre-backs once or twice. Like the first team, they've got to be flexible and the players fitted that shape tonight with having Demarai and Slim (Islam Slimani).

"Arsenal played the same way as well, they'd not played it the week before because they had three senior players, so this is what happens and you've got to do that.

"Where I felt we lost the battle was in the middle of the park, they dominated that area. There are a lot of positives, but after a game that you've lost, you feel a bit deflated.

"We're disappointed that we didn't come away with a point because the game looked like it was going to be a 1-1. It is about results, that's a big part of their development, they need to know how to win games."

We've got a lot to look forward to in the New Year, the new training ground to go into and we can start playing these games at home. We'll have 11 out of 12 at home, so that'll be good.

Steve Beaglehole Senior Professional Development Phase Coach

After a gruelling few months, Beaglehole is now looking ahead to the rest of the season, which will include a Papa John's Trophy last 16 tie with Sky Bet League 2 side Tranmere Rovers.

He added: "I think we're showing now that we're ready for a break to be fair to the lads. A lot of travelling up and down the motorway of late - Southampton away, Chelsea away, Arsenal away, Salford away - it's took its toll.

"We've had players going into the senior group because they've had a lot of injuries and we've lost players.

'We've got a lot to look forward to in the New Year, the new training ground to go into and we can start playing these games at home. We'll have 11 out of 12 at home, so that'll be good. It makes a big difference being at home, even at this level.

"We've got the EFL Trophy against Tranmere and we're the only Development team left in the competition, so it would be good to try and get through another round of that as well."

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