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Improving Game Management

Jerry Gill in Under 18s game of two halves

Jerry Gill says Wolves Under-18 squad will have learned a lesson about game management after Saturday’s defeat at home to Middlesbrough.

Wolves produced a superb first half performance and led 2-0 at the break thanks to goals from Nicu Carnat and Sam Phillips.

But Middlesbrough fought back in the second half, to eventually run out 3-2 winners at Compton Park.

“It was a tough one to take,” said coach Gill.

“What I will say is that when we do get ourselves in a position to win a game, we have got to manage it better and go on and win it.

“As a young player that last bit is trying to find out how to win a game to make the most of everything else that has happened before.

“The rest of the game on Saturday was very good.

“Looking at the stats after the game we have dominated possession, had a lot more final third entries, crosses and efforts on goal.

“But we have ended up losing the game.

“And that is purely down to us not managing the game well enough.

“Our application and attitude in the first half was fantastic.

“That didn’t change too much in the second half but it became more to do with how to handle the momentum when it changed in the game.

“We went in 2-0 up at half time having dominated, and maybe should have scored a couple more.

“At half time the message was about managing the game and going on to win the game which was the challenge we threw at them.

“The disappointment was then we conceded two early corners from the kick off and then a free kick which gave them some early momentum and then a couple of individual errors gave them their goals.

“Even at 3-2 down we had chances to hit back with Conor Levingston dragging a shot wide when he would expect to hit the target, and another cross flashing across the box with no one able to get on the end of it.

“So we kept going, although there was a contrast between the two halves, and now it’s about trying to get the consistency with the group over a 90 minutes.”

As usual, Gill and his staff took the team through the game in an analysis session on Monday, highlighting both the positives and what could be done to improve.

“We showed the game back to the lads as we always do and tried to keep things positive,” he explains.

“We split the first half and the second half and showed them the stats as well which, while sometimes misleading, were beneficial on this occasion.

“It was about looking back and thinking what they could do to go on and win the game and pulling all the positive things together.

“There was some really good stuff in terms of player development and the Wolves Way, but we all know that it is about turning that into winning the game as well.

“We do want to win games as well, and it is important they understand that, as well as all the things we are looking at in terms of their development.

“I was really frustrated all weekend after the game, as I’m sure the players were as well, but we will be back again this week keeping things positive and ready to go again.”

The Under-18s have one league fixture remaining, away at Sunderland a week on Saturday.

But there are also a couple of friendlies arranged, including one tomorrow against the Right To Dream African Academy side, at Manchester City’s Mini Etihad Stadium.

“Right to Dream are a very powerful and talented team, and it is going to be a really good challenge for the lads,” says Gill.

“It is about trying to finish the season well with these final games and get that consistency.

“We are pleased with performance levels, but we want the lads to find a way to go on and win the games when they do play like they did on Saturday.”