Mark Kennedy was pleased to have started life in charge of Wolves under-23s with three points after guiding his team to a tough 2-1 victory over Derby County in the Premier League Cup.
Benny Ashley-Seal’s first-half double was enough to put Wolves at the top of the Group H table after Leeds United and Birmingham City played out a 1-1 draw in their opening cup fixture. Despite taking a win and several positive aspects from his first game as caretaker head coach, Kennedy believes his Wolves development side can still improve on the performance they displayed at Pride Park.
On overcoming Derby at Pride Park
“It was a really tough game, no doubts about that. Derby were a very good side who had four first-team lads playing, so we knew going into it how tough it was going to be.
“I felt in the first 30 minutes we controlled the game quite well, but as the game moved some of our decision making in terms of what we could do with the ball and how we executed on the ball could’ve been better, but from a defensive aspect I thought we were absolutely outstanding.
“All over the park we defended so well. As a unit, with our distances and working together collectively as a team and how we agreed we would do things, I felt that was really good.
“I would’ve certainly liked to have seen more ball control in the second-half, but every games’ different. You’re not going to dominate every game in terms of possession.
“Most of the chances Derby had in the first-half were all long-range efforts from outside the box which we were pretty cool with. I felt we looked very dangerous from set pieces and defended set pieces really well.”
On a positive start to the PL Cup campaign
“On the whole it was a pretty pleasing night, it was a very difficult game, but there are two ways of looking at it.
“From our own perspective, which is the most important thing, I thought we could’ve been better in the second-half in terms of making the right decisions. But on the flip-side, I spoke to Derby after the game and they were super impressed by how we were defensively and collectively as a team.
“Football is played in two aspects; in possession and out of possession, but we will be working hard at maximising both of those situations.”
On taking improvements from victory
“It was a fantastic night in terms of learning. We’ve gone away from home, the lads have played at Pride Park, it’s a cup game, you want to win to progress and we’ve had to work together and be resilient at times.
“We also played some really good football in certain passages of the game, from a physical aspect is was a really tough night, so there’s lots of positives, but lots of developments that we can take from the game.
“Another pleasing thing was that against a very good side, we were able to show we’re compact and defensively strong and win the game when potentially not playing our best football. It’s swings and roundabouts, I have no doubts that we’ll have a game this year when we dominate in possession, shots on goal, corners – all the things you look at – and we might come out on the wrong side of a result. That’s just football.”