Ruth: Villa defeat brings us back down to earth

Our men's under-21s were beaten in the Premier League Cup in their last outing, but will look to respond against Leicester on Saturday.

By Richie Mills • 12 December 2023

By Clive Howes
Albion had beaten MK Dons in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy prior to their defeat to Villa.

Under-21 boss Shannon Ruth felt playing a third match in a week took its toll on his players in their defeat Premier League Cup loss to Aston Villa on Friday.

Goals from Benjamin Broggio, Kobei Moore, Rico Richards, and Tommi O'Reilly secured the 4-0 win for the Villans, who had Josh Feeney sent off late on.

After thrashing League Two team MK Dons by the same scoreline in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday, Albion would have hoped to secure another impressive result but it wasn't to be.

And Ruth felt playing Fulham, Milton Keynes, and Villa within seven days proved too much for a squad that has been thin on numbers due to many players getting called up to the first-team.


MA+ members & STH only - Log-in required

An existing MyAlbion+ membership or season ticket is needed to view this content. Please note that new memberships take 24 hours to be active to view, registering today for Luton Town match streaming will not be valid in time.

EFL Trophy Highlights: MK Dons 0 Albion 4

"It was not a good night for us and after a high from a big result on Tuesday, football can bring you back down to earth. It was similar to Fulham (a 3-0 loss), we couldn't quite get up to the intensity of the game, be it for one-on-one duels or second balls," said Ruth.

"I felt our third away game in seven days took its toll on us and it was a really big ask having these three tough away games. We have got to take our medicine, learn from that, and find a way to combat that in the future when we are in these situations. If the young players want to play at the top of the game, then playing two or three games a week is necessary and we have to find a way of overcoming that.

"I think the only way [to consistently play well] is to rotate and freshen up in different areas. In these three games, we have not been able to do that just with under-21 players being in different groups. With many of them having so many positive experiences with the first-team, that's meant we haven't been able to rotate and that's meant the same group, give or take a few players, has played in all three matches."

Albion return to Premier League 2 action next Saturday when they host Leicester City at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.

By Clive Howes
Shannon Ruth's team could move up to fourth with a win over Leicester City in Premier League 2 this weekend.

Ruth has called on his players to put this defeat behind them and come back stronger for the visit of the Foxes.

"One thing this group has continually done is respond well and bounce back from disappointment - that was the challenge we set the players after the game," he added.

"In the next match, we need to bring the best version of ourselves and we know when we do that we are an extremely tough side to play against.

"So we will dust ourselves down, we will be in to recover on Saturday, the players will go watch the first-team play Burnley and we will get ready for another week of preparing for Leicester City, which we are looking forward to."