💬 Matt Taylor: "We have to be better than how we started."

City boss Matt Taylor was pleased that the Grecians opened their EFL Trophy account with a win but says his side must improve ahead of Saturday’s league opener against Salford City.

Goals from Nicky Ajose, Matt Jay and Josh Key sealed a 3-2 win over Forest Green, but the boss was disappointed about a first half that saw the hosts fall behind early.

“I hated the first 25 minutes of that game,” Taylor said.

“That isn’t how we usually play at home, regardless of how the opposition played. They were first to everything and we were weak in too many areas across the board.

A fortunate deflection saw Ajose find an equaliser on the stroke of half time and that was a goal that gave City some impetus going into the second half.

“To still be in the game after the first half an hour was really pleasing and to get back into the game just before half time gave us a bit of control and a foothold.

“I’m disappointed with the goals as it was two set pieces, but once we got a bit of control we got more of the ball.”

Key’s finish, which put the Grecians ahead, was the 20-year-old’s first professional goal but the boss believes the overall performance was no bearing on the youthful side that featured against the Gloucestershire side.

“Josh grew as the game went on but it is irrelevant that we had young players,” he added.

“The group has to learn and get the first punch in, and if you’re not going to do that don’t let them hit you first.

“It is pretty simple in my message – we have to be better than how we started. But I’m pleased with the win and it’s a little bit more money in the bank as well!”

He also hinted at line up changes ahead of Saturday’s trip to Greater Manchester, with plenty of squad members still in contention for a starting place. Tonight gave Taylor the perfect opportunity to look at some potential tactical ideas ahead of the game.

“The team we saw today is completely different to what we will see on Saturday, but I’m still looking at link ups and partnerships.

“I’m still looking at people who put their hand up and say ‘pick me for Saturday’ as they want to play at Salford.”