Norwich City Under-23s head coach David Wright described Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat away to Cheltenham Town as a great test for his Under-21s.
City put in a solid second half performance against a team of seasoned professionals, advancing to the second round of the Papa John’s Trophy by finishing second in the group stages.
“It was a proper Cheltenham team, and they didn’t really have any young boys out, so it was a great test,” Wright told canaries.co.uk.
“I was pleased with the first half, but we just didn’t quite throw ourselves into the game as much as I’d like. The second half was so much better, and I felt we played with more intensity and purpose, so when we were making runs forward, we put the hammer down and went with real intensity.
“We just need to find that right from the start now, so instead of taking so long to get into the game, to just be at full till straight away, but they’re 18 and 19-year-old lads. That’s our job, to teach them how to do that, right from minute dot.
“Overall, I’m really pleased, and it was one of them ones that you maybe look back on and go ‘it was of them that just got away from us’, but overall, I’m pleased.
“We played with a bit more intensity in the second half and managed to get our wingers inside. On the ball, we were able to link from midfield to the forward line, but unfortunately just lacked that final pass or getting the shot off slightly quicker.
“If we’d have done that, then things could have been different.”
Finishing second in the group means that City now have to play the next round away from home, perhaps a blessing in disguise given that it will provide them with further stadium exposure.
“The importance of these games for our young lads is playing against a team who is sixth in the division and had a really strong start,” Wright added. “That experience is invaluable, so it’s great that we’ve got another game in this tournament and something to really look forward to.
“It will be an away game next because we finished second, so we’ll be at a team who finished first in their group, so that will be more experience of playing at a stadium under the lights.”