'We had no doubts' - Leeds United Under 23s boss Mark Jackson on defender's display against Crystal Palace and necessary improvements

Leeds United Under 23s head coach Mark Jackson had no doubt 17-year-old Kris Moore could handle the challenge of the Premier League 2 top flight opener at Crystal Palace.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 12:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 12:26 pm
STEP UP - Kris Moore impressed Leeds United Under 23s boss Mark Jackson at Crystal Palace. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

The centre-half partnered Charlie Cresswell in the first half and Nohan Kenneh in the second and had to contend with the physical presence of Eagles striker Robert Street, a little over two years his senior. An early red card for David Boateng, for handling Amari Miller's goal-bound shot, tipped the game in the Whites' favour but Palace still carried a threat on the break before eventually falling to a 3-1 defeat.

It was just the second time Moore has started a league game for the 23s and despite his tender years he was expected to cope with Leeds' first game since promotion.

Jackson has been pleased with the youngster's progress.

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"He's been doing well has Kris," he said.

"He's been training with the group now since the start of pre-season, and last season as well. We had no doubts in Kris' ability to deal with the situation and the step up and he did fantastically well against a tough opponent in Street up top, who was physical and good in the air. I thought we coped well with it."

Jackson was less pleased with other aspects of Leeds' performance. They took the lead through Crysencio Summerville's fine finish but were pegged back when Jake O'Brien rose to head home a corner to the back post.

Joe Gelhardt missed the spot-kick that resulted from Boateng's 20th minute red card offence and Leeds had to wait until the second half before they took control of the scoreline with goals from Liam McCarron and new signing Sean McGurk.

Jackson was happy to pick up three points against their fellow newly promoted side but wants to see improvements from his youngsters when it comes to control and their use of the ball.

"Pleased with the win," he said.

"Congratulations to the boys because any victory is a good victory. There were certain elements of the game we need to do better at. First game of the season, it was a competitive game and a challenging game. With Crystal Palace going down to 10 men, it's not as easy as it sounds. They were organised and hard working. There's lots of areas we can work on.

"We've got players out wide who can hurt teams, we needed to utilise our wide areas more, circulate the ball a little bit better and control the game a little bit better but [the wingers] were certainly an influence on the game. We can get better at certain things, particularly our control of the game which we as a group are not happy with. The wide players were influential, they could have been even more influential if we had kept the ball a little bit better.

"We like to score goals, we like to be an attacking force and create chances. We're not fussed who scores but as long as we create them in our way we're happy with that. It's nice to get the win in a new league but there's certain areas, like in every game, we can work on and get better at."