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Halajko: Work to do for West Ham U23s

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 February 2020

West Ham United's Xande Silva on the pitch before the Premier League match at St Mary's, Southampton.

West Ham United's Xande Silva on the pitch before the Premier League match at St Mary's, Southampton.

PA Archive/PA Images

West Ham under-23s head coach Dmitri Halajko admitted his side have lots to work on following a 2-2 draw with Stoke City at London Stadium on Monday.

The Hammers twice took the lead in the Premier League 2 Division Two clash, but had to settle for a point after conceding a last-minute penalty.

And although his side are still unbeaten, Halajko was left a little disappointed, telling whufc.com: "There were two sides to it really. On the one side, we look at it and we're still unbeaten. To still be unbeaten in February is a really good achievement, to still be top of the league.

"But the disappointing fact is we've let the game slip again from a winning position. That's three or four times now we've been in a winning position in the last 15 minutes and let the other team back in it to get a draw, so that's a disappointment.

"It could have been a concentration thing. I don't think it's a physical thing, but it could be. We just haven't managed to always hold out when it becomes crucial.

"That needs to be a time when we sharpen our minds, not the time we slack off."

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West Ham took the lead through Xande Silva's acute angle effort and, after Stoke levelled through Gabriel Kyeremetang, went 2- up through Sean Adarkwa's composed finish.

But Ryan Corrigan levelled from the penalty spot late on and Halajko added: "We need to smell that victory is coming and hold out and clinch our games, rather than step off the last 15 minutes and let teams back in.

"We had enough chances to kill the game off, both at 10- and when we were 2-1 up. We certainly had the openings, where our final pass or our final touch or shot wasn't at the level needed really.

"And if they were, we would've won the game comfortably."

First-team boss David Moyes was among a crowd of more than 650 to run the rule over the young talent at the club and Halajko was happy to see his players adapt to the big stage.

"We spoke about it before the game, what an opportunity," he added.

"The manager was here and all of his coaching staff. Playing at a stadium like this is a massive stage for our lads and there have been some bits where they've done well and they will be happy with and some bits where we can certainly improve.

"This kind of environment in which to play football is brilliant for their development."

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