Academy

Greg Crane: We needed a little bit more from the lads

Norwich City Under-18s coach Greg Crane was pleased with the second half performance from his side in their 3-1 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion, but calls on the team to make more of an impact from the start of every game.

The Under-18s conceded three goals in the first half before mounting a comeback in the second, but just fell short on the afternoon as Brighton held on for all three points.

Speaking in his post-match interview, Crane said he was happy with the second half reaction from the team, but wanted to see that quality from the first whistle.

"In terms of the game, I think we started the first half off okay, but then we slowly started playing into their hands a bit too much. We didn't test them behind, or make runs, it was a little bit of a breeze when they got momentum and came on top of us a little bit.

"We conceded from a set-piece, which is a little bit sloppy from us, we have to be more willing to attack the ball in our own box and defend them a lot better than we are at the moment. Little errors creep in which cost us goals.

"We were 3-0 down at half time and asked the lads for a reaction in the second half and they gave us that. They worked harder, put them under a bit more pressure, they tried. We have to start doing that from the first whistle and not let ourselves be 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 down before we start going. That's not good enough for where we need to be.

"That'll be the challenge because we play them again next week in the Premier League Cup. Hopefully they've learnt their lessons.

"We won a penalty, that put us up to 3-1 in the game and then they have a man sent off. All credit to Brighton, I think they defended reasonably well, which slimmed our chances.

"We wanted to try kick on and create a bit more, we scored an offside goal, we needed a little bit more from the lads for 3-2 and then for them to really pile on the pressure.

With many absent faces in the squad, including Brad Hills, Ken Aboh, Alex Matos and Finley Welch, opportunity came knocking for a number of Under-16s, which Crane said was one positive for the young Canaries to take.

"Brad Hills missed the game with COVID, he's back next week, Ken Aboh was injured during the last session, then a few other lads have a few knocks and some have longer-term injuries.

"It's like any football, a place opened up and there was an opportunity for someone else, the young lads came in and handled themselves really well and got to understand what the next level is like.

"It was really good to expose the younger lads today and see the older lads trying to help the younger lads as well. It's a little silver lining, but as a collective we've got to be more competitive from the get-go."

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