Keith Lasley believes young talent can help Motherwell back into Europe
Motherwell captain Keith Lasley is optimistic the club’s new crop of young talent can give them a chance of defying the ever-increasing odds against qualifying for Europe again.
The Fir Park side host Inverness tomorrow three days after their European campaign ended with a 1-0 defeat by Levante in Spain where Stuart McCall fielded a starting line-up featuring four teenagers.
McCall’s side ended the game with a back four of Fraser Kerr, Zaine Francis-Angol and Adam Cummins, who are all 19, and 22-year-old Jonathan Page.
Motherwell matched the Spaniards in the first half before fading after the break as they lost the Europa League play-off 3-0 on aggregate.
But Lasley was given some hope that the young players can help the club qualify for Europe for a fifth time in six seasons.
Lasley said: “I think it gets harder every year for us, to be honest. Other clubs are still spending money and have bigger budgets, as everybody knows. But we have managed to perform above our capabilities or what they should be, and I think we are probably going to have to do that again this year.
“But there is no reason why we can’t, we want to be one of the teams in there fighting and that’s certainly the mindset we’re going into the league campaign with.”
Steven Hetherington, 19, gave a mature display in central midfield with Stuart Carswell, who is a year younger, impressing on the right flank.
“It’s a big stage to come into, playing against a very experienced Levante side,” Lasley said. “We know all about the quality they have got and the league they play in and I thought the young lads came in, as they have done in the league so far, and did themselves justice.
“They have certainly given the manager something to think about and hopefully in the coming weeks and months they are going to have a big part to play for the club.”
Inverness manager Terry Butcher believes his side’s midweek League Cup win over Arbroath shows they should not be written off this season after a poor result against Celtic last week.
The Highlanders slumped to a 4-2 loss to the Scottish champions but they were back on top form with a 2-0 win at Gayfield on Wednesday night.
Butcher said: “It was nice to have a good solid team performance on the back of a poor display against Celtic.
“Wednesday night was a case of just getting back out on the pitch again and the whole team was just eager to show that they are good players and that we have had a good start to the season.”
Butcher is now looking to build on that midweek win when he returns to former club Motherwell tomorrow.
“They put up a good display in Spain. There are a lot of younger players getting their chance, which they always do at Motherwell of course,” he said.
“We know what we are up against. We had a mixed bag of results against them last year and we know what they can do.”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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