Craney: We Got Exactly What We Needed From the Game
Saturday, 24th Jul 2021 18:21
New coach Ian Craney was pleased with Town’s display in their 1-0 friendly defeat to Crystal Palace at Portman Road, feeling the Blues got just what they needed from the match.
Wilfried Zaha netted the game’s only goal from the penalty spot on the hour to see the Eagles to the win having been fouled by Kane Vincent-Young.
“Really good. We’ve played against top opposition and we’ve got exactly what we needed from the game,” Craney said. “Sixty minutes, we’re all very happy with what we got.
“I thought Cameron Humphreys was outstanding today. I think Wes Burns was a real threat.
“We’ve just got a lot of positivity from that game today and hopefully we can carry it on now into Colchester. We just all can’t wait for the season to start now.
“We need more games, the next two games are going to be great for the lads to get their minutes in. But hopefully when we’ll get those minutes in, Morecambe’s come and we should be bang at it.”
Asked what pleased him about the display, he added: “Most things, most things for the first 60 minutes. We were under threat at times, don’t get me wrong, they were a threat as well, but I think we showed with the likes of Wes Burns’s pace, Rekeem and Cameron linked really well, so there were a lot of positives about today.”
What can you learn as a League One side playing against Premier League opposition? “I think you can learn a lot. All we’ve got to concentrate on is ourselves. The team shape today was superb, I thought.
“At times they cut you open because they’re top, top quality players, but you’ve got to take all the positives from that game and realise the shape was really good and the lads got minutes on the pitch.”
Zaha was outstanding for the Eagles but there won’t be many players of that quality facing the Blues in League One. “No, not diving like that either!” Craney joked.
Also among the positives for the Blues was the return of fans to Portman Road.
“We were talking before, it’s great to have the fans back and the noise," he continued.
“We were talking about when James Norwood in the second half closed down the full-back, won the ball back and all the crowd were on their feet. That’s what it’s all about and hopefully that’s what we’re going to bring.
“It’s superb and it’s even good for the young lads to be playing in front of a crowd and all their families come and see them, so it was a really positive day. The fans make it, don’t they? So when you see fans in the crowd, you’re happy with it.”
Regarding 17-year-old Humphreys, who started in the centre of midfield, he said: “Lee [Evans] had a bit of a niggle, we’re waiting on Lee’s fitness a little bit. Cameron’s come in today, but all the young lads who have trained with us for the last two weeks or so, not one of them has looked out of place, so the gaffer’s given them game time today that they’ve thoroughly deserved.
“He’s a proper footballer, isn’t he? He’s picked up the shape straight away. Fingers crossed, he can keep climbing and be a part of the squad this year.”
Could players like Humphreys have a chance of involvement once the season proper gets under way? “Definitely, if he plays like he did today, he definitely has, he’s got a great chance. It’s just great to see young lads with the appetite Cameron’s got and hopefully he can stay round us.”
Craney knows the squad still needs a few more bodies: “Obviously the squad does need a little bit more. What we’ve got now we’re happy with and if we add a few more additions to that we’re going to be a in a good shape going into Morecambe.”
Recent signings Joe Pigott and Scott Fraser played their first matches for the Blues since signing from AFC Wimbledon and the MK Dons respectively. Asked where they are in terms of fitness, Craney said: “I think they need games, more game time, but they do look a threat, don’t they? You can see they’re two quality footballers. We get them the ball in the right areas and they’ll hurt teams.”
Craney joined the club in May having left Wigan, where he had been kitman, and says he is enjoying life at Portman Road taking on a coaching role.
“Yes, I’m loving it,” he continued. “I can’t wait to get going, especially seeing it today with the crowd. I think every staff member and player just can’t wait for the season to start.”
A Scouser like fellow coaches Gary Roberts and Franny Jeffers and manager Paul Cook, Craney revealed where his allegiance lies when it comes to football on Merseyside with fellow coaches Franny Jeffers and Gary Roberts very much Everton men, while Paul Cook is from the city's red half.
“I’m Liverpool, I’m massively Liverpool,” Craney said. “We have a few arguments! Me and Fran and Gary, we’ve all been mates for years and we’ve had a lot of banter over the years but it’s getting stronger and stronger because we’re living together now, it’s every day near enough.
“Me and Fran are together and Gary and Paul are elsewhere. There’s a lot of stick going on. Quite intense, especially living with him.”
Asked what he can add to the coaching set-up, he said: “Hopefully I can bring in enthusiasm and positivity. I just love being out on the grass every day and hopefully it rubs off on the lads.”
He says the mood around the squad is good despite all the summer changes: “Superb, there’s a lot of new names but it’s great. The atmosphere in the changing room is superb, the lads have got a good team spirit going. It’s all about working hard together and going in the right direction all together, isn’t it?”
Regarding Evans’s injury, he added: “Lee Evans will be fit for next week, we’re just being a bit cautious with Lee. Lee will be ready for next week and raring to go for the start of the season.
“Lee Evans will make a massive difference to our season because he’s a quality player. I know all about him from Wigan, really good.
“If you look at what we’ve done today and you add Lee Evans to it and a couple more people to it, players coming in, we’re in good shape.”
Regarding Jon Nolan, who is still to play a part in pre-season, he said: “Jon’s got a little niggle on his calf. He’s only days away, so you can add Jon to the mix as well. Everything’s going in the right direction.”
Looking ahead to Colchester on Tuesday, Craney says the plan will be much the same as today with the senior players again set to play 60 minutes.
“Possibly, probably will be similar to today,” he reflected. “And then next weekend [against Millwall at Portman Road] you’ve got to treat it as if it’s the first game, leading into the first game against Morecambe.”
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