The manner in which his team battled to secure victory at Swindon Town in the EFL Trophy yesterday delighted Andy Myers, who was overseeing his first match in charge of our development squad.
The young Blues raced into a 2-0 lead at the County Ground courtesy of a Tino Anjorin brace. Swindon hit back with two goals of their own and the entertaining fixture was in the balance before Charlie Brown emphatically finished on the hour to send the three points back to London.
Assessing his team’s performance afterwards, Myers praised the quality they displayed in possession and their determination without the ball against opponents who were generally much older and bigger.
‘To start the season with a win is really important for team morale,’ Myers said.
‘It was deserved. We took control of the game and played some really good stuff at the start. Then the boys really dug deep towards the back end of the game. We showed some really good quality throughout the game.
‘In the last two years in this competition we have done really well as a club. Nobody wants to lose a game when it kicks off and you could see that in the way Swindon changed their gameplan. We had to step up to that test.
‘When you look at these players and how young they are, we’re saying their next step could be loan football and senior football,’ added Myers.
‘These games are great preparation for that. People talk about the ‘real game’; the real game is how it is in what level you’re playing. You could see we are not used to certain things, balls into the box, but we had to dig deep for second balls. There is room for improvement and they can see what they need to for the next step.’
The Blues headed into the first game off the back of an excellent summer which included victories over Newport County and Swansea and, most recently, a well-earned draw with an experienced Rangers outfit.
Myers identified the progress made in pre-season as key, and said it served as good preparation for the start of the competitive action. He noted his players’ ability to adapt to different positions, such as when Anjorin dropped into midfield following George McEachran’s early injury at the County Ground.
‘We have been working on our intensity in pre-season and I’m very pleased with the levels we showed,’ Myers enthused.
‘I learned a lot about individuals and character [against Swindon], but saying that I learned a lot from them in pre-season. I’ve never doubted the way they are, you can see the character of these boys. It’s the culture we are setting in the club.
‘Everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities. It’s not by luck someone steps in and knows what is going on. It’s something we worked on in pre-season. They pay attention and there is a lot of detail in it.
‘They are very assertive to what they need to do. It’s important when you have a group of players everybody isn’t just looking after themselves; they’re looking at what’s best for the team, and I have a group of players who see that.’