James Collins was pleased the increased attacking intent he instilled into his Wolves under-23s players came to fruition on Wednesday night, as his side made it two wins from two in the Premier League Cup with victory over Exeter City.
Having only scored more than one goal in a game just once in their opening six matches of the season, while conceding just once in their last four, Collins tried his own style of ‘Bruno-ball’ at St James Park, and the young team were able to come from behind to secure a 3-2 win on the road.
On victory at St James Park
“I enjoyed it. We decided to come here and press a little bit higher and be a bit more of an attacking threat than we’ve had in recent games.
“We felt we are solid defensively and created some chances, but we wanted to see if we could press teams and pull out the pitch, and maybe create more chances.
“Early on, they caught us out. Their shape was different to what we were expecting and they started the game at a real high tempo and we looked under pressure.
“But we dug in, we found a way to stop them and then grew into the game. By the end of the first-half, they’d changed shape and I think that’s a sign we got to grips with it and got on top.”
On feeling confident with a two-goal lead
“It can get like that. You want them to be comfortable in possession, but at 3-1, Conor got the ball, had a little dribble and had a little dodge and probably did a little too much at that point, but at that point, he had confidence and was enjoying himself.
“But you’ve got to be careful against these sides, because I thought they were good. They had a lot of players who have played in the league at different times, and players that will play in the league, so I thought it was a real test for us, and they catch you out, especially at set-pieces.
“You’ve always got to be wary at set-pieces against league teams, which meant it was a nervy last ten minutes or so.”
On two wins from two in the cup
“That matters. We want to win every game we play. At under-23 football, you’ve got to get used to going on winning runs and getting used to winning.
“It isn’t the be all and end all. That is the performance and getting some players through the system, some players that the manager likes, but winning helps.
“It helps breed confidence and it helps them to express themselves, because when you win, everyone’s enjoying it.”
On Carty’s first goal of the season
“These players are not finished articles yet and you want them to develop and show their ability. If they want to play in the Football League and the Premier League, you’ve got to be able to play in front of a lot of people and you’ve got to express yourself.
“Conor’s growing all the time, he’s working harder than he’s ever worked, he’s looking more threatening than he’s ever looked, he’s making more runs than he’s ever made and with that comes confidence because he’ll feel he’s playing well, as well as playing every week, which helps itself with confidence.
“I was pleased with Conor and some of the others with the football they played.”
On seeing out the game
“I was delighted. I thought they came at us, but I thought we handled it reasonably well. There wasn’t a point when I was thinking a goal’s coming here, and right at the end, Kam read a cut-back which was really good to see.
“A young player like him, who is stepping up to the plate, in those big moments when the ball’s coming in the box, he read the cut-back and stepped out, he didn’t panic, and I thought those were the little moments that please you.
“They are stressful moments for the players, late on in games, and it would’ve been disappointing to have drawn the game when we had worked so hard to get the win.”