Norwich City Under-23s coach David Wright says his side didn’t play the way they were set-up to going into the game against Middlesbrough on Friday.
The U23s side were leading by half time, but subsequently conceded three to lose out 3-1 to the young Middlesbrough side.
Speaking in his post-match interview, Wright said the team missed out on the process of their development in the match, but the players will learn from it nonetheless.
“The first half was ok, but the second half was poor unfortunately. Daniel Barden was excellent and made two or three outstanding saves and a couple of good saves. That sort of tells the story, really.
“The process we work with the boys in terms of how we want them to play, how we want them to work; we just didn’t do that today for whatever reason.
“We’ll look back and watch the video to try to get some answers from it, and we’ll continue to work with the players and try to get better and better.
Giving his assessment of both halves, Wright was honest in where his team went wrong on the day, detailing what he saw throughout the 90 minutes.
“In the first half, when we had possession of the ball, we just weren’t quite patient enough. We ended up forcing it and we kept it in and around the attacking third. We probably needed a couple more passes just to shift them another time and open a gap up to go through them.
“They were set up to counter-attack and they’re really good at counter attacking. Their front three and the eight are powerful boys who get them up the pitch.
“In the second half, they were a lot more aggressive with their press and we couldn’t quite figure it out. We kept playing into their press. There were too many short passes which invited the press, but then instead of bypassing it by going through it into the next line or over the top of it, we didn’t.
“We put another pass in and then they were on top of us, ended up nicking it, and counter attacked. They were counter attacking quite high up the pitch, so we didn’t quite figure that out and that’s the disappointing bit really.
“We were a bit naive to that. That’s part of the process that we work on every single day - trying to play through teams, round teams, or over the top, but recognising and selecting the right option at the right time.
“Is it a pass through them? Is it a pass around them? What does the press look like? Then select one of them ways of bypassing the press. We just couldn’t figure that out.”
Finally, looking ahead to the U21s Papa John’s Trophy (formerly the EFL Trophy) fixture against Cheltenham Town, Wright said it’s the right game for the players to judge their progress in their journey’s so far.
“Well we’ll look at this game, review it and learn from it, and then we park it and move on to Cheltenham.
“It’s another really good game to look forward to, and it’s a stadium game. It’s a really good opportunity for the boys to come up against seasoned professionals and to see where they’re at again as individuals and collectively as a team.”