Praise from rival U18s camp consoles Bolton Wanderers coach David Lee
WHITES Under-18s coach David Lee credited his team’s character despite defeat in their latest league outing at Everton.
The young Wanderers lost 2-1 on Merseyside and remain bottom of the FA U18 Premier League.
But after a 5-0 humbling on home turf to Middlesbrough in their previous outing a fortnight earlier, Lee was pleased with the display and response.
He said: “I think it was actually the best we’ve played all season – we looked sharp and intense.
“The intensity and the way they applied themselves was much better than the Middlesbrough game and that was the main thing for us.
“There were some good individual performances which was very pleasing.
“Every man gave a positive response – on another day, we could have easily won the game had we put our chances away.”
The Reebok teenagers started brightly at Finch Farm and broke the deadlock shortly after half time when Jamie Thomas scored after good work in the build up by Elliot Newby.
But Kevin Sheedy’s young Toffees were level soon after when George Green’s low effort beat Harry Campbell to nestle in the bottom corner.
The Whites had chances to regain the lead with both Guillermo Torres and Aaron Knight going close.
Just when it looked like the game was heading for a draw, Callum Connolly netted a winner for the hosts with only three minutes remaining to inflict a seventh defeat in eight games on the young Wanderers.
It was a disappointing result but Lee acknowledged the quality of the opponents and an academy set-up that has produced the likes of England internationals Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley.
He added: “Everton are the benchmark that we look at. They’ve got some quality players and a fantastic infrastructure.
“Speaking with their staff after the game, they felt we deserved to get at least a draw, which is great.
“The players can take confidence from what they said and can hopefully push on from it.”
Lee’s side are back on home turf at Lostock on Saturday when they host Norwich City, kick off 11am.