Norwich City Under-23s head coach David Wright said his side struggled to get to grips with the type of game they were facing in Monday’s 3-1 defeat at Sunderland.
“We didn’t figure the game out or the type of game it was going to be until the second half,” he said. “The pitch was difficult and it was heavy. They had a real press on, so in terms of trying to play through that press, it was difficult in the conditions.
“What we had to do was bypass that press early and get it into our front two as quickly as possible, which would get us up the pitch, and then we could play our stuff in and around our box.
“But we definitely didn’t figure that out in the first half and we were unable to execute that plan.
“The second half was totally different and the one moment we got away from that plan of doing that, when we started getting a bit more tippy tappy in midfield, we got bit on the backside because they nicked it and it ended up in the back of the net and the game was 3-1.
“It’s a lesson for the boys and we spoke about it before the game and at half-time; understanding what the game needs, what the tactics are in the game and what are they going to be like - rather than trying to get the lead from us it’s about trying to get a feel for it while you’re out there on the pitch and being able to do something about it as individuals and collectively.
“The moment in the second half we got away from what was getting us success, we got bit on the backside.”
Despite defeats to MK Dons (for the Under-21s) and Sunderland, there’s no questioning the standards of work-rate shown by the Canaries in either performance.
“As a group, they’re a really good, honest group, and being an honest group is actually a real strength because the boys will work their socks off,” he said. “They do, so I’ve come to expect that from this group.
“But there are loads of lessons from the game as well as from the MK Dons game. They’re two totally different games, which is good in terms of them developing. That’s what we want to do - expose them to as many different styles and many different experiences as possible.
“Hopefully, that makes them better all-round footballers and people, so it’s good for that. The three young lads who came on at the end were really good and I’m really pleased.
“Eddie came on at centre-half, Tony came on off the right hand side and Abu came on later in the game, so it’s great to get the young boys to get a taste of Under-23s football as well.
“We’ll have a break and then be straight back into it. Overall, up to now, if we look at the first part of the season it’s been really positive. If we go into the Wolves game and finish with a real positive performance, it’s good and gives you a kick on into the break, maybe a springboard into the New Year.”