Ben Petty

A Tough Lesson, Says Petty

Tuesday’s Papa John’s Trophy defeat at Accrington Stanley was a strong learning curve for Leicester City’s Development Squad, according to Ben Petty.
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- Leicester City’s Development Squad fell to a 5-0 defeat at Accrington Stanley on Tuesday
- The result ended City’s chances of progressing out of the EFL Trophy group stage
- Coach Ben Petty reflected on the result and the competition as a whole
- He believes the young team will learn a lot from the experience of playing senior teams

The Foxes youngsters were well beaten on the night by Sky Bet League 1 opposition, who showed their experience to turn their two-goal half-time lead, courtesy of strikes from Tommy Leigh and Michael Nottingham, into a 5-0 result.

Jack Nolan, John O’Sullivan and Jovan Malcolm all added their names onto the scoresheet for the third-tier outfit in the second period, leaving Petty frustrated with the manner of the defeat.

Fleetwood Town also came out on top in City’s opening Group G encounter in the competition, but the Foxes arrived in Lancashire off the back of a morale-boosting victory over Leeds United Under-23s in Premier League 2.

“We’re very disappointed in there,” he told LCFC TV in his post-match interview at Wham Stadium. “I didn’t think we stood up to the physicality of Accrington well enough. We had a similar game against Fleetwood which we hoped we would learn more from.

You can see we’ve got a very young side at the moment. We’ve got a lot of growing to do, a lot of strengthening up to do. We found it really tough tonight. Set plays are very difficult against League 1 and League 2 teams.

Ben Petty LCFC TV

“After a promising result on Friday, that’s the beauty of development football. We have things that we have to work on again. We said it against Fleetwood, Accrington were as strong tonight as they would be in League 1. They haven’t got a game at the weekend because of internationals, they played their full team.

"We’re missing one or two but overall, the physicality was just too much for us. We played some really good football tonight at times, but it was there for everyone to see.”

Tuesday night’s result ended City’s hopes of progressing through to the knockout stages, ahead of their final Group G fixture against AFC Barrow at The Dunes Hotel Stadium on Tuesday 9 November (7:45pm BST kick-off).

“It’s a fantastic competition for the Under-21 teams,” he continued. “You can see we’ve got a very young side at the moment. We’ve got a lot of growing to do, a lot of strengthening up to do. We found it really tough tonight. Set plays are very difficult against League 1 and League 2 teams.

“We conceded again from set plays so there's definitely things to work on, but we’re making progress. Obviously when you lose 5-0, you have to look at that and say we could have done better in a lot of departments. Defensively, we were weak. I haven’t got an issue with us losing but losing in the right manner.

“Credit to the players, they kept going, they kept trying to play our way, playing out from the back. I’m really disappointed with the goals we conceded tonight. Accrington scored one or two decent goals but we also gave them two or three as well.”

One positive was the return of defender Ben Nelson, who was re-introduced to the squad following an injury which kept him out of the start of 2021/22.

Starting for the first time this season, he played in a back three alongside Ronny Nelson and Lewis Brunt, coming through the first half unscathed. Petty hopes to be able to utilise the 17-year-old more in the coming weeks.

City’s coach added: “I thought he did really well. Ideally, I wouldn’t have had to bring him off at half-time, but he hasn’t played for two months. It’s part of his return to full match fitness to play 45 minutes. 

“As you could see in the first half, playing out from the back, it was excellent with Ben, Ronny [Nelson] and Lewis [Brunt]. We’re looking forward to having him back for 90 minutes.”

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