Sky Blues U23’s Head Coach Luke Tisdale was pleased with how his side reacted to being behind at the break to return to winning ways against Wigan Athletic at the Alan Higgs Centre yesterday.
A much-changed Sky Blues side faced an in form Latics team and the visitors led 2-1 at half time but an impressive second half display saw Tisdale’s team triumph 5-3 in the end to stay top of the Professional Development League and Tisdale praised his side for the versatility they showed.
“I think we knew going into the game it could be a high scoring one and in terms of the group I am really, really pleased with the second half performance.” Tisdale said.
“We spoke before the game about how it was going to be tough for us, just because of the amount of injuries we’ve got, especially in the defensive areas so it was a case of square pegs in round holes and even more so than in the last couple of games.
“Ryan Howley has had to play in a back three when he was playing number 10 for Wales last week, then Ricardo and Aaron are out and out wingers and have had to play as wing backs which is great when you’ve got the ball but when you are out of possession it becomes a different game.
“I was a bit disappointed first half and we almost used that as an excuse as we felt a bit sorry for ourselves and people didn’t look a bit lost and didn’t take enough responsibility
“But second half we got the game going forwards and scored some really good goals so first half not very good, second half excellent.”
The Latics had won their previous four matches going into the fixture and Tisdale believed their high level of performance required his players to set it up a level in the second period with special credit going to ‘keeper Cian Tyler for keeping the score down to keep City in the game.
“Wigan were very good first half, they took their chances, they penned us back in. Their first goal was really well worked, and the second goal is an outstanding header, so you have to give a little bit of credit to Wigan in terms of how bad our first half performance was because they forced it onto us.
“But I felt we didn’t take enough responsibility, we passed backwards, passed sideways, we had two dribblers playing as wing backs so you might as well dribble at people, its pointless passing backwards so it was about players showing what they are good at regardless of what position on the pitch they are playing in.
“Everybody contributed second half and I’ve got to mention Cian Tyler because some of the saves he makes at big moments in the game, at 2-1 he makes a brilliant save, and at 5-3 with just a couple of minutes to go he makes another brilliant one and kept us in it first half, so the goalkeeping performance was brilliant.
“To go out and score four second half is really good, it is testament to the young players really. They took the information on at half time because it was not a very pleasant team talk, put it into practice and ran away with the game in the end.”
Midfielder Marco Rus played a key role in three of the goals and Tisdale was pleased to see how the 18-year-old reacted to the advice passed onto him by the coaches during the break.
“He (Marco) got a bit of feedback at half time which he wouldn’t have been too happy with but a boy of his talent and ability he needed to do more in the first half and he does brilliant for the penalty.
“It was very similar to the goal he scored against Millwall really, picks the ball up in a similar area, drives from outside to inside, shows great feet and great skill and we’re all sitting on the bench expecting it to hit the back of the net if they didn’t foul him anyway.
“He does take responsibility and he created the goal for us so he did brilliant second half.”
Tisdale saved special praise for Aaron Evans-Harriott and Harrison Nee, who have had their minutes on the pitch limited so far but he has no doubts in their abilities after the duo played a big role in the recent victories over AFC Wulfrunians and Wigan.
“Him (Aaron) and Harrison Nee are probably two of the unluckiest players that we have ever worked with as Fabio Tavares keeps Harrison Nee out the team every week by scoring, and he’s ended his drought of one game. Fabio has which is good, and Aaron has had to be really patient as well.
“Harrison scored the winner in midweek against AFC Wulfurians so he got to contribute in that sense and he got to feel like he is still really part of the group, which he is and Aaron is the same, finds game time limited, which is why we play the extra midweek games to get them on the pitch and his finish is outstanding, it’s a brilliant first touch as he’s in the air when he takes it and he’s hit it off his weaker foot and is a brilliant goal so I am delighted for Aaron.”
Finally, Fabio Tavares scored his seventh of the season the Tisdale was impressed by how the young forward upped his game second half and the quality he showed in taking his goal.
“He’s (Fabio) done his job again, got his goal, disappointed in his first half performance to be honest as he didn’t get a hold of the ball well enough and gave too many away but second half he did much better, did keep hold of it, made better runs, worked a little bit harder if I’m being honest and his movement in the penalty area second half was much brighter and it’s a brilliant finish as well as it’s not easy to come back away from goal on your weaker foot and turn it back in so he takes his goal really well.”