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Connolly will learn from Van Dijk duel

Aaron Connolly says he will take plenty of lessons from his battle with Virgil van Dijk, following Albion’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool on Saturday.

By James Hilsum • 02 December 2019

By Paul Hazlewood
Aaron Connolly and Virgil van Dijk.

The young Irishman came head to head with the Netherlands international, and feels he acquitted himself well against the current UEFA Men’s Player of the Year.

He said, “It was tough. There was one point where Davy [Propper] played me in, and then he came out of nowhere with his toe and toe-poked it back to his goalkeeper.

“Sometimes you just have to appreciate that you’re playing against one of the, if not the, best defender in the world.

“To play against someone like that at my age can only help me. He’s a brilliant player, but I thought I did okay against him.”

By Paul Hazlewood
Aaron takes a shot towards goal.

The 19-year-old reflected more on the game as a whole, and stressed that Albion could feel hard done by to not take something from the match.

“It’s a tough one to take because we could have got a point, or even won the game,” he added. “But you can’t give two set pieces away at Liverpool and expect to get back into the game.

“The first 15 minutes killed us a bit, but to come away from Anfield disappointed not to get a point shows how well we played after the first 15 minutes.

“We created a few chances and they just didn’t fall our way. Overall it’s a good team performance, and now it’s about recovering and preparing for Thursday.”

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Extended highlights: Liverpool 2 Albion 1

Arsenal are Albion’s next opponents and Connolly is wary of a potential backlash from the Gunners following Unai Emery’s recent departure.

Connolly said, “We just need to focus on Arsenal now, and the games are coming round so quickly. They will want to give a reaction after just losing their manager, and the fans will be highly charged and want to get behind them.

“It is a tough place to go, but we’ll focus on that match and take the positives from this heading into Thursday.” 

Albion v Wolves - 8 December, 4.30pm KO

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