Academy

Greg Crane: We've worked on dealing with adversity

Norwich City Under-18s coach Greg Crane was pleased with the resilience his side showed to get their first win of the season against Birmingham City Under-18s on Saturday.

“First half was up and down," he said. "There were times when we got it down and played that I thought we were good and looked like we were going to score and get in some dangerous areas.

“Alex Matos got down the side a couple of times and had a couple of chances. It was a bit bitty if I’m being brutal.

“We went a goal down and that was a better reaction, scoring early on after, which is something we’ve tried to work on this season - their mentality and dealing with adversity, so that was a pleasing first half."

City were reduced to ten men during the second half when Joe Duffy received a second yellow card, but the Canaries dug in to grind out three points.

“We had some more adversity when Duffy got his second booking, which was correct, it was a silly challenge," Crane said. "This group are going to get a lot of challenges this year so it’s going to be great to learn from.

“They dug in, worked hard and made blocks and tackles. Sometimes you’ve got to play with that desire to want to not get beat. That should be an everyday habit, whether it’s blocking a shot in training or trying to score at the other end.

“Credit to the lads. We went back to a 4-4-2 how we played last year and we’re very clear how we defend in that. It was hard for them to break us down. They created chances as it’s still kids football, but we were difficult and could have got a couple on the counter attack with a bit more care and touches of quality. We should have scored another two maybe."

Matos caught the eye throughout the game, looking lively and showing good strength to make life difficult for the Blues.

“Alex unfortunately got an injury just after the first game of the season against Southampton," Crane said. "He’s slowly building himself up to match fitness. He catches the eye and has his moments. He’s such a dangerous player but he’s got lots to improve on, especially fitness and being able to last longer.

"I’m pleased for him and he loves to score goals. Finley Welch was back in after a long spell out as well and we’re slowly getting the group back together in training as well as on Saturdays.”

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