Luke Tisdale challenged his side to get ‘back to basics’ in the wake of the Under 23s defeat to Nottingham Forest.
A 2-1 defeat to the top-of-the-table Forest side led to Tisdale labelling the performance as the worst of the season and urging the Sky Blues youngsters to react in their upcoming fixtures.
“We’ve got to get back to basics, and be better with the ball and without the ball - we need to be more aggressive when we don’t have it,” said Tisdale.
“Forest are top of the league and you can see why. They’ve got a lot of quality on the pitch but I think we showed them too much respect, allowed them to dictate the ball and that’s what has cost us in the end.”
The Sky Blues went into the break behind to a late first-half Forest penalty that broke the deadlock, and City’s Under 23s coach said that the referee had made the right call.
“I can’t complain about the penalty that was given against us,” Tisdale said. “We got the wrong side and didn’t need to make the tackle but we did, which then gives the referee a decision to make and I felt he got it right.”
The half-time period saw a change of shape for City with Jordan Young brought on to add an extra man in the midfield, a decision Tisdale explain.
“We changed the shape at half-time because we felt their midfield three were too dominant and dictating the game, so we wanted to go man-for-man in the middle and try to stop that happening,” City’s Under 23s coach said.
“That also allowed us to get Will Bapaga off the side as well and go at their full-back.
“I didn’t feel like we created too many clear-cut chances in the first-half – there a couple of good crosses and half chances, but we never really opened them up. The 4-3-3 allowed us to get some space in midfield and try to play forwards a bit more.”
Keeping the score at 2-1 was largely down to City’s keeper Tom Billson, who Tisdale praised after the game.
“Tom was probably one of two players who can take credit from the game,” said Luke.
“I thought some of his shot stopping was excellent, as it always has been to be fair.
“It’s been a credit to Tom the change we have seen with him over the Summer and over pre-season, and he’s kept that going. He’s a great credit to himself, and if it wasn’t for him today it would have been more than 2-1.”
Overall Tisdale was unhappy with the performance, coming after he felt his side had already dropped points they should have earned earlier in the season, and challenged the Under 23s to make big improvements as they continue a tough run of Professional Development League Fixtures.
“It’s massively disappointing. We spoke with the players yesterday – we’ve dropped a lot of points over the course of this season, so we feel like we should be 10 points better off that we are,” the Under 23s coach said.
“There have been games where we’ve played really well, dominated the match, and we’ve either switched off late in the game or a bit of luck has gone against us. That today was probably our poorest performance of the year, yet we were still in a position where we might have been able to take some points from it.
“We’re seven games in and should have more points on the board than we have, but we haven’t – that’s the tough reality of it.
“Today’s the first time that we have been wildly below the bar in terms of our performance. We’ve got Hull away next Monday who are second, having played first in the league today, and then Sheffield United who are third.
“We’re in a tough run of fixtures and I think we’re going to have to grow up now, take it on the chin and see how tough we are.”