Swansea City U23s’ determination and resilience pleases Jon Grey
Swansea City Under-23s coach Jon Grey has applauded the determination and resilience demonstrated by his side in their creditable 0-0 draw with Professional Development League South leaders Millwall.
The young Swans registered their first clean sheet of the season after a brilliant defensive display at Landore to keep their in-form opponents at bay.
Table-topping Millwall arrived in South Wales off the back of five wins from their previous six games, including a 6-1 thrashing of Colchester United last time out.
However, they were unable to find a way past the stubborn Swans, whose back three of Joe Lewis, Scott Butler and Jake Thomas did an excellent job at preserving the clean sheet.
And having identified the need to concede fewer goals during a mid-season review with his players at the close of the year, Grey was delighted to see them put their plan into practice.
“It’s a really good way to start the year,” he said.
“We had a little review of the season so far just before Christmas and talked about the fact that we wanted to concede fewer goals because we’ve been quite open.
“We’ve changed things around a little bit today in terms of how we play and how we pressed the ball.
“The determination, resilience and drive not to let the ball in our net were the most pleasing aspects of today. They had a couple of chances, but we always had someone there to block or make a last-ditch tackle.
“We’ve got a young team. The experience that they’re picking up is invaluable to them. They’re improving every week and now we know what it takes to keep a clean sheet.”
Now that the first clean sheet of the campaign is on the board, Grey is hopeful that will pave the way for more to follow.
As well as their defensive heroics, the Swans also looked dangerous going forward against Millwall, with the likes of Rio Campbell, Adrian Akande and Bradley Gibbings possessing plenty of pace in attack – although, they were unlucky not to see their threats turn into goals.
And moving forward, the under-23s coach has challenged his players to produce a “perfect performance” – complementing stubborn defensive showings with clinical displays at the other end of the field.
“The next step for us is to continue that and win the game as well,” he continued.
“I’m pleased with the way we played with the ball today; we looked like a Swansea City team by knocking the ball around and controlling possession for long periods.
“We’ve been fairly good going forward this season, but now need to marry both up to have an overall perfect performance.”