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Kevin O'Connor: 'real quality in the second half'

B Team Head Coach sums up Manchester United performance at Griffin Park

21 March 2018

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Kevin O'Connor was clearly impressed by the way his side defeated Manchester United U23s on Tuesday afternoon at Griffin Park. The B Team Head Coach spoke to iFollow after the game to discuss the performance, games at Griffin Park and Chelsea next week.

"I'm extremely pleased," said Kevin, talking to us after the final whistle in West London. "Considering the way the first five minutes went, it was unfortunate to concede the own goal. Then we missed a couple of really big chances and I thought it wasn't going to be our day. But the boys stuck to the task, moved the ball really well and created plenty of chances."

The sides went in at the break with a goal each, before Brentford B came up with two more in the second half to win the game. Kevin explained his emotions heading into the dressing room.

"At half time I was pleased," said Kevin. "We had so many opportunities. Scoring a goal just before half-time probably helped the confidence of the players a little bit. I said to them at the end of the game, two bits of real quality in the second half settled the game."

Manchester United deployed a number of established under-23s players in their ranks on Tuesday, including recent Leeds United loanee Cameron Borthwick-Jackson as captain.

Asked about how his players dealt with the occasion, Kevin said: "I was really pleased. After the Rangers performance, which obviously I said was good, I wanted them to do it in front of the First Team staff. They were all here today and I said to the boys after that I was delighted for them that Dean [Smith] and the staff saw that, because they played really well and carried it on from Rangers."

Henrik Johansson made a return to match action in the 86th minute, coming on as a substitute to replace Reece Cole. He had missed over a year of football with a muscle injury he picked up at Reading in February 2017. Kevin was pleased to have him back.

"We gave him a little round of a applause at the end and he got a bit emotional in the changing room. He's had close to 14 months out injured and now he's slowly getting there so it's brilliant to have him back. An extra player is like a bonus for us and we'll see how he does."

The 36-year-old believes the squad must remain confident ahead of Chelsea's trip to Jersey Road next week.

"The players know they are playing to a good level. They are doing the dirty stuff well, working really hard off the ball and then on the ball we have quality. If you match the two up, we've got a chance."

Brentford Football Club broke ground at Lionel Road this week to signal the beginning of work on the new stadium by Kew Bridge. Kevin was there on Monday and touched on the importance of games at Griffin Park for his squad.

"It always makes the games extra special to play here," said Kevin. "Night games especially but it's really good in the afternoon. It just adds a little bit more to the game, it makes it a little bit more important and I was pleased we put the performance on."

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