Paul happy with run-out against the Royals
Ryan Edwards’ early goal earned the Royals a 1-0 win, but the evening allowed the City staff to look at plenty of players and a different system of playing.
The first period saw the Grecians set up in a containing fashion – the defending for Edwards’ goal excepted, City looked solid and composed. Exeter had a number of chances in a freer-flowing second half but somehow the Royals’ second-half stopper Mikkel Andersen kept the attack out.
So for Paul and the team, plenty of lessons have been taken from the match.
“We played two very different styles in the first and second halves, and we’ve learned a lot from it,” said Tis. “We’ve been working a lot on our formation in the last two weeks and it has highlighted some of the things we have to work on and some of the things we’re doing quite well with.
“It’s about trying to get players in their best positions to try and get the most out of them, and it’s about finding the right slot for players. In all those areas, it’s a very useful evening because we’ve learnt a lot and clarified a few points.
“I’ve been able to clarify with the players some of the vulnerabilities we have and also what we need. It was a really good performance.
“Everyone will like the second-half performance because it was more open and attacking, but the first half was very competent as well, albeit we conceded a poor goal.”
A notable inclusion in the starting XI was 17-year-old Alex Byrne, who looked accomplished in the centre of midfield.
The Academy youngster, going into the second year of his apprenticeship, last played in front of a sizeable crowd at the Park when the Grecians’ under-18s drew 2-2 with their Man City counterparts last year – and on that occasion, he was named man of the match.
For most of the Grecians in the crowd, it would have been a first glimpse of Byrne in action and Paul was pleased to see another young player coming through the ranks.
Paul continued: “Alex is going to be a very good player – he’s another young player that’s coming through. He has been training with the first team.
“He’s still only 17 – he has a future ahead of him and still has a lot to learn and to understand, but he’s in a very good starting position for us. His level of physical ability, as well as his footballing ability, is high already.”