Under-21s return from pre-season tournament
ALBION Under-21 defender Shaun Donnellan was delighted to see his side match some of Europe’s best in the Tournoi Europeen competition in Brittany.
The Baggies came up against Lorient, Marseille, Anderlecht and Rennes in France, where tournament rules meant games were just 50 minutes long.
A narrow 3-2 defeat to Lorient in their opening game was followed by a 1-1 draw with French giants Marseille.
James Shan’s men were unlucky to be on the wrong side of a 1-0 scorline against Anderlecht in the final group fixture, before suffering the ultimate football heartbreak in the play-off – losing on penalties to Rennes after a goalless draw.
However, Donnellan – who travelled with the senior squad to both Austria and the USA earlier in pre-season – was pleased to see the group compete with their prestigious opponents.
He said: “The whole experience of playing in the tournament was really good and one that all the lads really enjoyed.
“The standard of the opposition was extremely high but we coped with it really well and matched every team that we faced.
“The only disappointing thing was that we weren’t able to win any of the games.
“In my opinion we should have won the first game against Lorient.
“We were good against Marseille and probably should have won that game too, but it just wasn’t to be.”
Donnellan added: “The games were only 50 minutes long so it was fantastic for fitness levels, especially during pre-season.
“Teams just seem to come out at us really quickly because they knew the games were shorter in length.
“The tempo was a lot quicker than it is in a 90 minute match, but again that is fantastic fitness work for us all ahead of the start of the season.
“My own fitness is at a really high level at the moment and I can feel the sharpness coming back.”