|Ipswich Town 4 v 0 Gillingham|
Tuesday, 8th October 2019 Kick-off 19:45
Taylor: Really, Really Proud
Tuesday, 8th Oct 2019 23:22
Assistant manager Stuart Taylor said he was “really, really proud” of the way the Blues “controlled and dominated the game” as they comprehensively defeated Gillingham 4-0 in the Leasing.com Trophy at Portman Road.
Emyr Huws and Jordan Roberts netted in the first half before an own goal and a Will Keane strike completed the scoring after the break.
“I’m really, really proud the way the lads went about their performance tonight. They were very professional from start to finish,” Taylor said.
“I was proud that they controlled and dominated the game throughout and scored four really, really good goals.
“It was great for Emyr to get the first one, he’s always a threat in and about the box, getting shots away, he’s always consistent hitting the target and it showed tonight that if you hit the target you’ve got a chance of scoring goals.
“Also Robbo, chipping in with the second as well. He was successful in the game we played out here in the same cup when he scored two against Spurs’ U21s, so it was nice for him to continue that run.
“But also the last goal for Will, it’s pleasing the amount of work he’s come through with his rehab.
“He’s always got quality and we know when he’s in front of goal more often that not he’s going to hit the target and he’s going to get goals, so I’m delighted for him tonight.”
Taylor sees the competition positively, as a chance to give fringe players and particularly youngsters games.
“Definitely, we’ve got a chance to go and bring in a couple of young kids again,” he said.
“Idris [El Mizouni] has started, wee [Armando] Dobra’s come on and we brought on young Tommy Hughes as well, which is great for the academy.
‘We’re big believers in the academy here, it’s a great academy, with fantastic coaches, they’re working really, really hard every night bringing through quality players over the years and we’re just delighted to be part of that bringing through those young kids and giving them a chance in the first team.”
Regarding 18-year-old debutant Hughes, a former East Bergholt High School pupil, who has progressed through the academy having joined age seven, he added: “When we came in here last year, he was playing away and he suffered a bad leg break and he’s really started to come back this season.
“Right away he’s come back in and he’s worked really, really hard. He came back in good condition, showed a great attitude and we’ll always reward players for showing a good attitude and working hard and he got that reward coming training with the first team, like many others have done.
“And he was very, very fortunate tonight to go and get that opportunity, which he grabbed with both hands and I thought he did very well in the middle of the pitch and it was great to see him out there,”
Making his first senior appearance of the season was central defender Toto Nsiala, who skippered the side on the night.
“It was good to see Toto back playing a first team game again,” Taylor continued. “He’s had a tough time in pre-season when he picked up his hamstring injury and to be fair to big Toto he’s worked very, very hard on his recovery programme and his rehab programme and he’s stuck at it.
“He’s played quite a few U23s games now and it was part of the process, that was the aim to go and get him playing tonight and he came through the 90 minutes which was great.
“I thought he was solid at the back, he was winning his headers and he controlled the line really, really well and he was comfortable on the ball, which was great to see and it was great to have Toto back tonight.”
Nsiala and keeper Will Norris, back in goal for the first time since the Tottenham U21s match, recorded their first clean sheets of the season.
“Also Woolfy being part of that again, and Willo being part of that again and getting a clean sheet, which was great,” Taylor said.
“It’s something we take pride in, getting as many clean sheets as we possibly can and they’ve done it again tonight.
“But take nothing away from Gillingham, they’ve got a threat in terms of some of the players they’ve got, we knew it was going to be a tough game but I felt the players dealt with it right from the first minute and withstood any attacks or threats that they’ve got and we looked very confident throughout the game, so that was really pleasing.”
The strength of the squad despite manager Paul Lambert making nine changes was illustrated by the Xi which started the match.
“It’s a strong squad, the gaffer’s doing the rotation system where people are getting to play and then are going back out and other people are coming in and everybody’s grasping their opportunity, the assistant boss added.
“That’s the way it’s got to be, it keeps everybody on their toes, it keeps everybody hungry but there’s also that togetherness that we’ve got, which is great.
“That togetherness is in the dressing room and now it’s spilling out into the stand, which is the most pleasing thing for me, that the club is becoming one and everybody’s looking for the same thing, which is success.
“We’re trying to spread it out so everybody’s having equal time and are getting as many minutes as they possibly can.
“But it’s when they’re coming into the team that they’re feeling part of it and they’re going and having the opportunity to go and express themselves and turn out a performance like they did tonight.”
Asked whether Gwion Edwards’s introduction at right wing-back was to assess the options available if Kane Vincent-Young misses games with the groin problem he suffered at the weekend, Taylor said: “We know what we’ve got, we know Janoi [Donacien] can come in there, he was feeling unwell tonight, so we had to take him off at half-time. We know Gwion can do a job there as well.
“We’ve got good flexibility, we’ve got players who are versatile enough to go and adapt to different positions.
“At the end of the day the manager wants to go and play football and if he gets as many football players on the pitch as he possibly can that are comfortable on the pitch they can play near enough anyone.”
Regarding Vincent-Young’s injury, he says the former Colchester man should be back in training next week: “He’s been in having his treatment and [physio] Matt Byard’s confident enough that he’ll be back not too far away.
“We’ve got a break now with the four days with no game at the end of the week, so we’re looking for him to be back in for training next week.”
Jordan Roberts was subbed at half-time with a toe problem suffered late on in the first half.
“It’s a sore toe, which can be a really, really sore one, so there wasn’t really any point in risking him and continuing with him when we’ve got someone like Dobra who can come on and show what he’s got again,” Taylor said.
“He’s done fantastic, he’s a real live wire, real positivity when he gets on the ball and it’s good to see the supporters have really taken to him.”
Taylor says Roberts, who scored his third goal in the competition earlier in the first half, is in with a chance of breaking into the League One team, just like anyone else.
“There’s not one player at the football club who is bombed out,” Taylor insisted. They always say there are bomb squads at different clubs, but we don’t have that. There’s a great togetherness, there’s a great team spirit and everybody’s fighting for places and that’s not going to be any different from here.
“There’s a great togetherness at the football club and we’ll continue that and that’ll be a massive strength for us.”
Many fans were surprised that Dobra, the star of the 2-1 victory over Tottenham’s U21s last month, was only on the bench.
Asked whether that was due to an arrangement with Albania, whose U19s he is set to join up with tomorrow, Taylor said: “No, not at all. He’s obviously going away tomorrow.
“The wee man was desperate to be in and about it, he’s enjoyed his previous experiences with the first team and when you’ve got that enthusiasm, you don’t want to be curbing it, you want to keep it, you want to encourage it and it was great for him to be part of it.
“That’s what these games are all about, having an opportunity to go and play as many of the younger ones as you possibly can and also just get people out to go and play football and entertain the crowd that come and see us.”
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