Sky Blues Under-23s Head Coach Luke Tisdale was pleased with the performance from his side, in what was a different challenge to what they’ve faced this season.
The Under-23s came away from QPR’s Harlington Training Ground with all three points, after a brace from Liam Kelly and a 4th of the season for Fabio Tavares secured a 3-0 win.
However, the score-line wasn’t the walk in the park it suggests, as the 23s were made to work for their win, following waves of pressure from the hosts.
“We had to defend for long periods of time, and we did that really well.” Tisdale said.
“Cian Tyler has made saves when he needed to and the back four made good blocks because QPR put us under pressure with and without the ball.
“So, it was really pleasing that we were able to withstand that pressure and come away with a clean sheet, it’s a really good defensive performance.
“It was the most difficult game we’ve played this season and it was a different type of game to the others we’ve played in as well.
“QPR press really high, and they stopped us playing out from the back and they’ve dominated possession in their final third.
“We had to be structured to stay in the game and then that allowed us to hit them on the counter-attack which I think we did really well.”
It was club captain Liam Kelly who proved to be the difference on the day, as he bagged himself a brace to put City two-up after an hour on the clock.
Tisdale was full of praise for Kelly’s performances with the 23s as he builds up his match fitness ahead of his first team return.
“I said to the players after the game that we can all agree that we’ve had a few first team professionals come and train with us over the last few seasons and none of them have reached the levels that Liam Kelly has in terms of his attitude and desire to train and to play in these games and win.
“You can see why he’s the first team captain because he trains and plays like he is when he’s been with us, so it’s been brilliant to have him with us and for the young players to be able learn off him.
“His first goal stinks of experience. He has hit a quick free-kick when nobody is looking and then in the second half, he’s scored a great header and then he tried to lob the ‘keeper from 40 yards and almost got his hat-trick!”
At the other end of the pitch, there was a first start in 23s football for Under-18s defender Fionn O’Brien, who came in to partner George Burroughs in defence.
“It’s really difficult for young players to make their first appearance in the under-23s so for him to play centre-back and keep a clean sheet is brilliant for him.
“I’m sure he thoroughly enjoyed it. There were things he struggled with and things that he did well so I’m sure it’s a lot of stuff that John Dempster and Chay Thompson will be able to work with him to try and help him develop.”
Luke Tisdale’s side are next in action on Monday 27th September, when they host Sheffield Wednesday at the Coventry Building Society Arena (1pm KO).