ESPZEN U14 's Match Report
It was always going to be a tough ask for a U14 team playing against the team who top the U16 league with a 100% record. That being said, ESPZEN can be very proud of their performance. The process is always more important than the result at all levels of the game. It’s the process that leads us to where we want to be in the future in terms of technique and game intelligence whereas the only importance of the result is on the psychological side in terms of fighting for victory and pulling off results under pressure. You can win games with processes that won’t take you where you want to be in the future in terms of players not touching the ball or getting as many match actions as they would playing out from the back and through the thirds. The psychological side can come in victory or defeat which can be more profound with the adversity and opportunity of learning it brings.
We played from the back at every opportunity with Ethan making great decisions of when to play short to the wide defender when the opponent dropped off or playing a lofted to the winger when they pressed higher. Jonan and Max were offering to take the ball from the defence which enables us to connect with the players higher up the pitch and limits the distances of our passes. This ensures we’re more likely to keep the ball and means our running distances in negative transition are shorter which makes it easier for us to get the ball back immediately. Ryan Lim and Ryan Taylor did a good job of screening forward passes and looked to be positive in possession to beat their man 1v1. We scored a nice goal with a run behind from Ethan who was found with a lovely pass from Ryan and Ethan finished well. Unfortunately it was just individual errors which cost us a few goals and one where the player was a lot more physically developed which makes it difficult defending in 1v1 situations as he was very effective. Felix was delighted having his mate James back again, who delivered a solid performance, defending well and driving out from defence with the ball to give us a plus 1 in midfield. We missed you James!
Once again I’m proud of the psychological side. We always talk about the things we can control in terms of we may not always play well but we can always give 100% right to the end and we did that once again. Our communication was a lot more positive and informative which is a big positive and something we will look to transfer to other contexts to ensure we improve on and off the pitch. It’s been a tough season but there have been many improvements despite the results. Let’s keep this attitude going moving forward and it’ll be a positive season regardless of what the league table says.