City boss praises players for raising their gameDespite a 2-0 defeat to Swansea City at St James Park, Grecians manager Paul Tisdale declared himself pleased with the way the squad is progressing and the way players are meeting the challenge they face.
City put in bright performances both individually and collectively, though goals from Bafetimbi Gomis and Josh Sheehan either side of the break earned the visitors the result.
The Grecians ended the game with no less than six teenagers playing against the Premier League outfit, yet still looked an attacking threat against a tough Swans rear-guard.
And supplemented by the more experienced players in the team, it bodes well for the Grecians’ preparation for the forthcoming season.
“With the stress and the limitations of the embargo, these players are all getting a chance,” said Paul. “And in a way it’s nice – there’s not too much expectation on them, they’re enjoying it and they’re improving quickly.
“I’m having to coach more than I would normally do because I’m trying to give them structure, and they’re doing really well.
“There are one or two players in our team that are stepping up and doing really well like Craig Woodman and Jimmy Keohane, who have impressed me with how they have grown into the team and started to lead the team.
“There were eight or nine players at the end that were about 22 or under – it’s a big ask for a club like ours to win games with so many young players.
“It was a very good opportunity for lots of our younger boys – we finished with five players that played in the youth team last year all on the pitch at the end.”
Occasionally the Swans’ top-tier quality showed, with new signing Jefferson Montero looking lively down the left in the first half and Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer adding directness after the break.
But Paul felt that Swansea provided a useful test and a good chance for his players to show their mettle against a quality side.
“We played against a team that can pass the ball – it was certainly a different challenge than the one we’re going to expect most weeks in League 2,” he continued.
“I would normally back our team to do well in those situations – I’d like to think we’re organised and that we can cover space well, and it suits us to play that way.
“I’m still pleased because we’re very jaded, and we’ve had very little time to sleep, let alone practice and prepare for the game. So we did really well and the players conducted themselves sensibly.
“Although [Matt] Grimes and [Danny] Coles both limped off with hamstring stiffness, I’m hoping that’s just fatigue.”
“It’s a different sport to what we’re going to come up against in League 2 – and Torquay on Saturday will be a different sport too, without speaking out of turn.”