Comments from the Senior Professional Development Coach
- Frankie Bunn discusses another Under-21 win
- Frank delighted with character of players vs Boro
- SPD Coach comments on draw in the next round
Frankie knew his side didn’t perform to its potential against the visitors at the John Smith’s Stadium, but he was pleased to see the players find a way back into the game after going a goal behind.
“It is great to get through to the next round,” Frankie told htafc.com post-match.
“Middlesbrough is renowned for its Academy and producing good players and this was a tough game.
“We looked like the only team that was going to score in the first half really; I don’t think they bothered Lloyd (Allinson) too often, other than from long distance. We had a couple of good moves that we would usually expect to score from.
“I don’t think we were sparkling today, but we kept at it and we dug in. We’re a fit team and I think that showed today. Some of the play in the first half was OK, but I was disappointed because I know we can pass the ball a lot better than we did today.
“They stifled us a touch by setting off on the halfway line and looking to press us from there onwards. It’s not often our boys come up against that, but in the Championship it will happen and you have to figure out a way to get around them. I don’t think we quite did that well enough today.
“We had the character to bounce back and then again to go on and win it. I thought our confidence came back after we scored the second one and we stepped on the gas a little bit.”
Captain Joe Wilkinson made an error that led to Boro’s opener, but recovered to score the equaliser with a powerful header.
Frankie continued: “I’m delighted for him, because he’s a boy that takes things to heart in the right way. His goal was obviously a set play that we’ve worked at and thankfully for him it went in. I’m not sure who is claiming it as it took a deflection, but he was involved immensely in it.
“This is where boys make mistakes. He had a sticky 10 or 15 minute spell after his error for their goal, but he came back. Making mistakes has to be at Under-21 level, because at First Team level you are made to pay.”
Head Coach David Wagner, who has given First Team time to Flo Bojaj and Duane Holmes recently, was on hand to watch the win and Bunn credited Flo’s endeavour after the striker setup the eventual winner for Jack Boyle.
“It’s difficult as the likes of Flo are in and around two camps at the minute. It’s terrific that he’s been involved with the First Team, but he also has to come back to us and play.
“It happens at all the league clubs and they have to keep working; they can’t settle for where they are. We have good characters here and they all want to work hard.
“I don’t think Flo was at his best today, but the way in which he setup the second goal shows he has character and quality.
The win means a trip to either Chelsea or Southampton in the next round in the New Year, whilst the young Terriers now have a two week wait until their next game.
“Every game is a priority for us. The boys enjoy playing, performing well and winning; long may that continue.
“When you are in a rich vein of form, you want the games to keep coming and we don’t have a game for a fortnight now, when we play Barnsley at home. The confidence is sky high and to win a game with Middlesbrough’s status today, without playing particularly well, is a great achievement for our players.
“Make no mistake; either Chelsea or Southampton away in the next round will be a tough one. It’s great that the boys get to play against Premier League opposition.”
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