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Shan reacts to Under-21 draw with Arsenal

12 January 2016

Baggies U21 boss frustrated by display

ALBION Under-21 boss James Shan spoke of his disappointment with his side's performance despite their 1-1 draw against Arsenal on Monday night.

Tyler Roberts' fine finish put the Baggies into an early lead although it was the visitors who went on to dominate for large periods at Tamworth's Lamb Ground.

Jack Rose, having moments earlier made a superb double save, kept out a penalty on the hour mark but he could do nothing to prevent the Gunners' 65th-minute equaliser.

A point apiece ensured both Albion and Arsenal maintained their promotion push at the top of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League Division 2.

But Shan insists there is plenty of room for improvement from his charges.

"I was bitterly disappointment if I'm honest with you," said Shan speaking post-match.

"We spoke about shape without the ball, we knew Arsenal were a good team and would potentially be dominant with the ball and be creative with a lot of attacking flair.

"But I think we paid them too much respect and gave them a little bit too much time and space. You give any team time and space, especially one with so many gifted players, then they'll cause you problems.

"So although you could look at it and say we had a defensive shape and balance, and made it very, very difficult for them at times to penetrate, I didn't like the intensity in our one-one-one defending."

Shan added: "I also felt we didn't handle the ball well, when we had opportunities on a turnover or a regain we didn't handle it particularly well.

"I'm very much a football purist I guess, and when we don't have the ball or when we have got the ball, if we don't take care of it then it frustrates the life out of me."

Shan did reserve praise for Roberts' well-taken goal, sweeping home Adil Nabi's free-kick, and hailed Rose's "outstanding" penalty save.

And while he also acknowledged what was a positive point in the club's quest for promotion, he could not hide his frustration with the bigger picture.

"If you look at it from that perspective - the results business - then you're coming up a team who have a lot of talent and the pool they fish in is far superior to ours," Shan added.

"We didn't play particularly well and we managed to grind out a result, get a draw, and perhaps at the end we could have nicked it, although I don't think we deserved to. 

"But the bigger picture, and the difficulty of my role, is we're trying to get these players into the first team and so from a developmental side of things I'm disappointed.

"Normally I can split myself in half and think - good result but a poor performance - but today I can't do it."

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