Following Norwich City Under-21s 2-1 win over Crawley Town in the Leasing.com Trophy on Tuesday evening, Head Coach David Wright was delighted with what he saw, describing City’s win as their most complete performance of the season so far.
“In all three games in this tournament we’ve threatened that win but we just couldn’t quite get over the line,” he said. “If you make certain mistakes, experienced pros end up hurting you. Tonight was probably the most complete performance since the start of the season.
“Until the second half, Crawley had a 15-minute period when they really started to push us back, but credit to the boys, they were brave enough to stand up to that and then to get a foothold back in the game to score a really good goal.
“You felt that the momentum was changing and the pressure was building after Crawley equalised. Instead of playing out, we ended up clearing things and they were coming back at us, but during that period the boys showed good composure and stayed in the game. They didn’t let it run away from them. That momentum started to be neutralised and it was a bit more 50/50. We got on top again and dominated the ball while moving up the pitch, so that’s where our opportunity came from.
“This cup has been great for us – three stadium games under the lights against experienced, good league teams.”
Tuesday’s back five have all benefitted from their involvement in domestic football over the last few weeks, as David explains.
“Andrew Omobamidele is 17, Louis Lomas is a first-year pro, Akin Famewo is a second-year pro, while Philip Heise came in and did an excellent job, as did Billy Johnson in goal. We’ve done a lot of work as a back four on understanding where they should be at certain times. From beginning to end tonight, like the rest of the team, they were very good.”
The full-backs also have the license to bomb forward, much like they do in Daniel Farke’s first-team, and it was that approach that led to Norwich scoring their second goal in the 74th minute at the People’s Pension Stadium.
“Our wingers play on the inside and our full-backs generally play on the outside to give us width. If you look at the first-team, it’s very similar with Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons. It doesn’t surprise me that Philip and Louis are up there and combining. Philip had that bit of composure to pick Louis out, he got his shot off and thankfully it went in.”
Commenting on the horrific weather in West Sussex on Tuesday night, David said that the conditions actually became an advantage for City.
“They were really difficult conditions and in the second half the wind started picking up. With the type of wingers we have and the style of play we use, the wetter the pitch the better, because that means we can move the ball quickly. The boys handled it really well.
“It’s about being consistent now. We’ve got another game in a couple of weeks so we’ve got to do it again. That comes from every single day in training. Out on the grass, off the grass or in the gym, every single day is about maximising yourself. When you do that, you give yourself the best opportunity to come out and perform.”
Finally, David revealed that U23s ‘keeper Archie Mair has been in training with the Norwich City first-team this week, who have been short of players in that position due to injuries to Tim Krul and Ralf Fahrmann.
“Archie has been training with the first team over the last few days, so that’s great experience for him. His work ethic is really good and he’s hungry to learn, so that’s why it’s a fabulous experience for him. He’ll be like a sponge, taking everything in. He’ll come back to us and be in a better place for it.
“The boss has shown that when he sees the young lads and decides they’re ready, he’s not scared to put them in. The boys are lucky because they can see that there’s a pathway for them at this football club into the first team, but they also understand that it’s a tough road to take and they’ve got to work their socks off and maximise every single day to get that opportunity.”