McKenna: A Good Exercise to Finish Off a Hard Week
Saturday, 2nd Jul 2022 16:53
Town boss Kieran McKenna felt the Blues’ 5-1 behind-closed-doors friendly defeat to a strong Arsenal side at London Colney was a good exercise to finish off a hard week’s training.
Sone Aluko hit the Blues’ goal, while Eddie Nketiah scored a hat-trick for the Gunners with Sambi Lokonga and Folarin Balogun also on target for the home side.
“It was a good exercise to finish the week off,” McKenna told iFollow Ipswich. “We’ve had a really hard training week, so they’ve tired a bit at the latter end of today.
“Physically it was a really demanding game because when you play training games at training grounds the ball’s always in play, it comes back in straight away.
“To get 45 minutes into the 22 players was really good. It was a good way to finish off the week and sets up well for next week.”
Reflecting on the opposition, he added: “Arsenal in the first half was a really, really, really strong team, so that was a good experience for the players to go up against that. Physically the challenge was really good. Technically and tactically it’s a good challenge.
“For us, just as a little marker of where we’re at two weeks in, I think it was a really good day.
“I thought we put some good things together in the first half where we just needed to be a little bit sharper on the last bit of it. Second half, we probably should have scored two or three goals, there was some good play.
“There’s lots to improve as well, lots of things to improve on the ball and certainly defensively at times lots of things to improve.
“But it’s a training exercise for us, we’re trying out a few different things playing people in different positions to have a look, having a look at relationships.
“We know it’s not all going to be perfectly smooth over the next couple of weeks and we don’t really want it to be, we want to iron out some things now and give ourselves some different solutions.”
McKenna is happy with how the first two weeks of pre-season have progressed with George Edmundson (ankle) and Kayden Jackson (hamstring), who were injured at the tail end of last season, both closing in on returns and Tyreece John-Jules, who recently signed on loan from Arsenal. also doing well having had a quad injury last season while with Sheffield Wednesday.
“I think so,” he said. “Realistic in terms of knowing that there’s still a month to go and we need a couple of weeks’ hard work still even from a physical point of view before we taper down and think about the first games.
“The football that we play, the players have picked up the principles again pretty quickly and it’s about evolving that and improving that going into the season.
“I think for the first two weeks we’ve had no major issues, everyone’s been available every session and we’ve got a 30-minute block and a 45-minute block into most of the players.
“We have George and Kayden very close now to returning to the group fully next week. Tyreece is building up his fitness and his robustness and looking really good at the training ground, so I think we’re in a pretty strong place.”
Town are now off for a week-long training at Loughborough University with their next friendly at home to West Ham United on Tuesday 12th July.
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