Slutsky Reflects On Doncaster Defeat
Head coach Leonid Slutsky has given his thoughts following Hull City's EFL Cup defeat to Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday evening, and debutant Brandon Fleming was also speaking following the game.
Heading to the Keepmoat Stadium for the game, Hull went down two nil on the day with the hosts scoring twice in the second half to book their place in the third round, and with plenty of changes made to the starting line up and an incredibly youthful feel to the team, Slutsky knew that whilst the result was disappointing, there were positives he could take.
Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media for his post game press conference, Slutsky was focused on the positives only.
He said of the performance.
'I thought it was an unbelievable performance because essentially we put out a youth team against a serious League One side. For 90 per cent of our squad, it was a first serious match at this level and of course, they were very nervous before the game. It was a 50-50 game, we created a couple of chances and it was a serious first step for many players in their careers. I hope their prospects are good for the future.'
Asked in particular what had pleased him from the youthful group, he went on to say.
'Some of these players train with the first team squad and so I understand their level, but some have stepped up from training with the U23s to play in this game. I think many stood out - Olley, Hamilton, Luer, Mannion and Batty had really good matches. However, I shouldn't really speak about individuals because it really was a big team performance. We have to look at the positives in situations like this and the main one is that we have seen that we have some really good players for the future.'
Slutsky also said that a number of players had given him something to think about when it came to his plans moving forward.
'Yes. Lenihan, Batty, Olley, Mannion - but they have already been on the bench this season. We said that everybody that played against Doncaster had the chance to play themselves into the squad for the next match. Brandon Fleming is another who played very well and he is a very good prospect.'
With injuries hitting Fraizer Campbell and Kevin Stewart, he gave an update on both of them.
'Campbell will be ready after the international break. Stewart needs one more consultation about the ankle injury. I hope after the international break we will have Campbell, Henriksen and Evandro coming back. Stewart may be a more difficult situation.'
As for youngster Brandon Fleming, the 17 year old left back was making his senior bow and he described it as being a 'fantastic experience' and one he hopes to relive soon.
Fleming got through 68 minutes before being replaced by fellow debutant and Academy product Ellis Barkworth in the game and he was delighted having signed his first professional deal last February.
'It was a fantastic experience and one that I will remember for a long, long time. I was so proud of the lads. It was a great team effort, but it always going to be hard coming up against an experienced Doncaster Rovers team. Compared to what most of us in the side have been used to at Under-23 level, playing first-team football was completely different. The intensity and pace of the game was so much higher. You can`t afford to lose concentration for one second at first-team level because we saw happened when you do.'
He went on to say explain.
'After the game, I was mentally and physically drained. Despite the end result though, I have to say it was a fantastic experience. All the lads put in a real shift and I think we did ourselves - and hopefully the Club - proud. I don`t think the scoreline necessarily reflected the way the game went. I think the least we deserved for our efforts was a goal but unfortunately, it wasn`t to be.'
Fleming was also quick to praise the travelling fans on the day.
'The was the best part of the night - the fans were nothing short of outstanding from the first minute to the last and we can only thank them for the backing they gave us. They were unreal and their support gave us a massive boost on the pitch. After the game, all the lads were speaking about how great it was to play in front of such a passionate crowd and we can`t thank the fans enough for making our debuts even more special.'
'I`m only 17, so I`m still learning my trade. Obviously, I was delighted to make my debut for hometown Club, but I`ll sit down, look at the match and how I played and see where I can improve. If I can do that and kick on, hopefully, I can play more first-team football because that`s what I want to do. That has to be the aim.'