Norwich City Under-23s beat Middlesbrough U23s 3-0 in the Premier League 2 Division 2 on Friday, and it was the clean sheet that most pleased head coach David Wright.
“Really pleased and the clean sheet is great,” he said. “We showed a real desire to keep the clean sheet and that shows where the boys minds are in terms of how important it is to do that and that’s a choice.
“In terms of us in possession, in the build-up to the game we spoke about how we felt we were going to hurt their shape and I think it took 16 and a half minutes for the boys to realise and then execute it.
“As soon as that first pass went through and they understood how to hurt it, I felt they took advantage of that really well. In the second half, we did it regularly, which was great.
“It’s one thing talking about a tactical plan, but for the boys to see that live on the pitch is the key part. Once they understood how they were going to do it, they did it on numerous occasions.
“We could have had a few more and we looked very dangerous on the counter-attack. It’s a really pleasing afternoon.”
The Academy lads playing the Norwich way! Lovely finish from Nizet for today's second goal 👏 pic.twitter.com/xsdhx1Xtig— Norwich City Academy (@NorwichCityAcad) February 26, 2021
City’s second goal of the game was close to a template for what Wright and the coaching staff are looking for from their team, the slick move nicely finished by Rob Nizet.
“We say to the boys all the time that to play the way we want to play you need to play with courage. You have to be comfortable being pressed and the ability to play through that.
“Our second goal was excellent. It ticks all the boxes we’d like our boys to have when in possession.”
One footnote of the match was Marco Stiepermann’s involvement, as he continued to return to full fitness in order to resume training with the first team.
“Stiepi’s a great person,” Wright added. “For him to come into the group, he’s been a pleasure to work with and it’s great for the boys to play with someone like him.
“We talk about the standards in the first team and what it takes to get there, but sometimes it’s hard to understand that until you see the standard first hand. That gives them a better idea.
“For Stiepi it was 90 minutes that were really important for him and his recovery and he had 60 in the last game, so hopefully for him he’ll be closer to moving back into first team contention.”