Exeter City manager Matt Taylor believes the 4-1 defeat in the Carabao Cup to Coventry City has given him food for thought after the Grecians exited the competition.
A much-changed City XI were 3-0 down at half-time after two goals from Jordy Hiwula and one from Matt Godden. But they put in an improved second half display and pulled a goal back through Pierce Sweeney before Amadou Bakayoko found the net late on to restore the home side’s three goal cushion.
After exiting the competition, the City boss says he is looking for improved performances from the squad if they are to challenge for a starting spot in the league campaign.
He explained: “He was a quick player (Fankaty Dabo, who set up the first goal) but he’s run 60 yards unchallenged with the ball through the middle of the pitch.
“Certain personnel are going to have to be better than that if they’re going to play in the first team and get up to a certain speed pretty quickly to play certain games. I’m not too disappointed but it gives me a better idea where some players are.”
The Grecians made eight changes to the side that started the 1-0 win over Stevenage, some of which were enforced due to suspension and injury, but the City boss was also keen to give minutes to players who had not featured yet this season.
“Some of the changes were enforced, obviously Tom (Parkes) through suspension and Randell (Williams) with a dead leg,” said Matt. “The work that the centre midfielders got through at the weekend, and it’s also important to use those players that will feature this season.
“Alex Fisher and Ben Seymour are first team players, they didn’t quite get the service or didn’t quite use the ball well enough tonight, but they’ve got to play. Ryan Bowman is an injury or a red card away from not playing, and that’s the same for Nicky Ajose. These players have to be ready to play, so that’s why I made those changes. Those are first team players, they’re not under-23s or reserve team players, they're first team players who have got to be good enough to step in.
“It was a difficult night after five minutes in, you could sense that. But it was our own fault, we left too big a spaces to cover against a Coventry side and at times tonight we looked like we didn’t quite have it in our legs to match their speed. They’re a sharp team and might be another level on from where we are at the moment but it’s what we’re working towards.
“Like I say, we play against some good teams at League Two level who won’t be too dissimilar to Coventry and we take on Swindon this weekend. It gives me more food for thought in terms of my personnel and in terms of who I want to bring into the club and who I want to get out on loan. It’s pretty simple where I want to go with this football team.”
The Grecians also gave game time towards the end of the match to 15-year-old Ben Chrisene, who has now become the club’s youngest ever player to play in a first team competitive fixture at 15 years, seven months and one day.
When asked about his thinking regarding giving Ben some minutes, the City boss explained: “He’s been involved with us in pre-season and he’s a talented lad. The more experience he gets in and around the first team on a first team pitch will benefit him.
“No disrespect to under-16s academy football, that won’t help his development, but nights like tonight will. Even being sat on the bench and watching it, even seeing the likes of Jack Sparkes, Ben Seymour, Archie Collins and Matt Jay on that football pitch and the speed of the way that Coventry played should hopefully motivate him to improve his game and develop.”
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