Grayson discusses the Barcelona friendly
Huddersfield Town Manager Simon Grayson told htafc.com that he was happy with the discipline his side showed during tonight’s pre-season friendly against FC Barcelona B.
“First and foremost, you don’t get to play against Barcelona at any level very often and I thought we were good tonight,” the Town boss told the Club’s official website.
“There were a lot of aspects we had to work on – we knew we weren’t going to have a great deal of possession, so we had to be disciplined and organised with our shape of the team. We limited them to very few opportunities in the first half, which was pleasing, and when we got the ball we passed it like we can do and had some exciting moments in their final third.
“It took a penalty to break us down, but it probably was a penalty. I was pleased with how disciplined we were.
“They have some good players. The way they have been brought up to pass and move was always going to make it a difficult night for us but I thought we acquitted ourselves well.”
Although Barca played their own inimitable ‘tiki-taka’ style of football, Grayson believes the game will be good practise for elements of the upcoming Championship campaign.
“We’ve worked on our shape over the last few days and we’re not going to only do that tonight – we’re going to have to do it in the Championship too. There will be good players in our division and we can’t be too open – we have to be hard to break down, because we have players that can hurt people when we counter-attack.
“We’re not going to play like that all season; we’ll play 4-4-2 and other systems at times because we have that flexibility. However, tonight was a great exercise in what we have to do when we don’t have the ball and I thought the players stuck to what they had to do.
“The players will have learned a lot tonight, even from what they did when they had possession of the ball. They make things look so simple at times and we have to learn to do the simple things, because that can help you.”
Sean Scannell picked up the sponsor’s Man of the Match award on the evening after an impressive home debut and Simon was equally pleased with what he saw from the Republic of Ireland under-21 star.
“Hopefully he will continue to do that – that’s why we brought him to the Club. Sean has great strength, speed and awareness as well as a few tricks in his locker and I thought he got better as the game went on. He also performed a disciplined role; Sean is a player who likes to do things in the final third, but he stuck to his task on the left hand side and helped Paul Dixon out.
“That is what we have to do; when we get the opportunities, the players need to go and express and enjoy themselves.”
Grayson was also equally impressed with the impact some of Town’s youngsters made on the pitch during the second-half:
“It was good to get some younger players time on the pitch against them as well, because some of their players will be the future stars of Barcelona. When we look back at the team-sheet in future years we will all be proud of who we faced and realise what a great achievement this was by our players.
“Jimmy Spencer could have had a couple of goals tonight and he certainly would have remembered the game well if he’d managed it.”
Combined with the previous evening’s friendly at Chesterfield, Simon is pleased with the finale to Town’s pre-season campaign.
“Looking at the two games, I’m really pleased how well the group of players did at Chesterfield last night and I’m pleased with how we did playing in a different way tonight. The pieces are coming together now as we get towards the end of pre-season, but the true test will come on Monday when we start the Cup campaign and then over the next nine months in the League.
“There will be some tired bodies at the training ground tomorrow, but we’ll train in the morning ahead of the photo shoot in the afternoon. The players will have a day off on Friday to recover before a couple of days preparation work for the Preston game.
“Everybody has come through the two games and only Scott Arfield and Jamie McCombe, who both played last night, missed lots of pre-season. We’ve got a good level of competition here, which is healthy.”