Lessons to Learn

Thoughts of Sean Parrish on Villa defeat

Coach Sean Parrish believes Wolves Under-18s will learn the lessons from their latest game against Aston Villa after they let slip a half time lead to lose 2-1.

Parrish, whose role as Professional Support Phase coach sees him working across various age groups including assisting Jerry Gill with the Under-18s, says Wolves paid the penalty for a quickfire Villa comeback shortly after the interval.

Christian Herc had put Wolves in front after a well-worked first half corner before Kelsey Mooney and Jordan Cox overhauled that lead to earn Villa the points.

“It was a game of two halves,” says Parrish.

“It was a bit disappointing when we looked back on the game that we lost it having gone in at half time a goal up.

“There were a couple of chances at either end in the first half but I think we edged it possession-wise and got the goal from Christian.

“It came from a well-worked corner – another one for my set piece folder!

“Jerry and I chat about set pieces a lot and he gives me a little bit of ownership with it and so it is always nice when they come off.

“Set pieces can win you a game but you can also lose as well and so you need to defend them as well.

“We do some work on them but not too much as you don’t want to make it information overload.

“We’ve got a few different set pieces we can do as you need the variation to be able to mix them up otherwise the opposition get to know them.

“Having gone in front we then found ourselves 2-1 down within five minutes of the start of the second half, and that was a shock to the system.

“I wouldn’t say we were in control of the game but we had a good foothold and just didn’t see those goals coming.

“They must have had a few choice words in the dressing room and came out all guns blazing and I didn’t think we handled the intensity of their pressing and closing down.

“We didn’t match their effort which is disappointing and isn’t something we say very often about our lads.

“It’s just a little reminder to all of us about the old adage about maybe carrying on in a second half as you have finished the first, almost thinking it is still 0-0 and very important to kick on.

“I am not saying the lads didn’t give their all but just didn’t quite match the workrate and intensity that Villa produced in that period after half time.

“We had a little spell in the second half where we huffed and puffed and tried to get back into it but the game fizzled out a bit towards the end.”

As ever the game will be assessed in plenty of detail with good and bad reporting back to the players to help in their development.

As with other clubs, the Wolves team has changed in recent weeks with several regulars moving up to the Under-21 ranks and younger players, including Under-16s, handed an opportunity.

“There are always lessons to be learned from any game and it’s a learning curve for these lads who are young and adjusting to the transition from Under-16s to the full time game,” said Parrish.

“And there are also a lot of first years who have perhaps had more game time this season than they might have expected.

“They have to be ready so that when the second years move up to Scott (Sellars), they are ready to handle the ugly side of the game because that is what they are going to have to do if they get into Kenny’s first team.

“I think a lot of clubs are now changing their teams at this stage of the season like we do.

“Some of the Under-21s have moved up or been told their contracts are not being renewed which allows some of the 18s to step up and in turn the younger scholars then come in for the 18s.

“We have always said the priority at this level isn’t necessarily the results even though of course you do want to win.

“It is about getting the lads through into Scott’s team and then the ultimately to the gaffer.

“Everybody knows that when you step up, whether it’s 15s to 16s, 16s to 18s, the teams are all playing the same away and players are receiving the same messages.”

Parrish has now worked within Wolves’ Academy for four years, and has enjoyed seeing many young players come through the ranks and go on to make their bows at senior level.

“It is fantastic when you see how many players have come through from the Academy to the first team,” he says.

“When you are coaching in the Academy that is what we are here to do, to produce players.

“It is for Jerry and myself to get the players up to Scott and then from there to go through to the gaffer’s first team.

“We keep saying it, there is a pathway here and Scott and the gaffer will always take a look at young players.

“If you are good enough you will get an opportunity, even if it is just in training.

“At other clubs a lot of the time that doesn’t happen and with many first team and Academy are not even on the same site.

“Here there are always opportunities.

“You can be training on one pitch and the first team are within touching distance on the next and the players know that if they do well and perform at their best those chances will come.”