Collins | Players will take ‘vital lessons’ from Crewe defeat

James Collins admitted his young Wolves side were second best throughout their defeat at Crewe Alexandra, which saw the under-21s fall out of the Papa John’s Trophy in the group stages.

Wolves needed to win at Gresty Road and rely on other results to go their way if they were to reach the knockout stages, but an under-par performance condemned Collins’ development side to a 3-0 loss. Although the head coach was disappointed to have not progressed in the competition, he believes there are plenty of lessons for his players to learn which will help them in their careers.

On dropping out of the competition

“We were well beat. From minute one, we didn’t start well. We allowed them to get on the front foot and they overpowered us early on, had come chances, got the goal, and it took us a while to really settle into the game.

“We did then settle a bit, but almost throughout the night we were second best. We’ve got disappointed boys in there because they like to come to these nights and showcase their talents, but we didn’t do well enough tonight.”

On coming up short at Crewe

“They’ve got to realise that they have to earn the right to play every game you play. The boys played well Friday against West Brom, in front of a nice crowd at Molineux, I thought they played really well that night and they thought they played really well that night.

“But maybe they thought they’d just be able to turn up here tonight and that would carry on. But what they’ve got to realise is that game’s gone, and the next game’s here, and from minute one, you have to be at it, and I don’t think we were.

“We didn’t get enough balls in behind, we didn’t pick up enough second balls – I think our second ball count in the first-half was 30 per cent – we were poor on the throw-ins which we were terrific at the other night, so straight away you’re up against it.

“They did their press better than we did ours, and I thought both teams played good football, and in pockets we played some really good football, but a lot of it was in our own half to get out of tight spots, and although we did that at times, it was a disappointing performance.”

On areas of disappointment

“Lessons like tonight are vital for under-23 players. It hurts at the moment because we all want to win. We all want to compete and we all want to win.

“But more importantly for me, I wanted them to showcase to Crewe what they’re about, because some of these might need to go on loan at some point and if I say, ‘He’s a good player and he’s a good player,’ they might look at tonight and think, ‘I’m not so sure.’

“That was the disappointment for me; we didn’t showcase what we’ve got, we didn’t play as well as we can play. You can’t always bank on the results, especially against league teams, but what you can do is play to the best of your ability and work to the best of your ability, and I don’t think we did.”


On improvements to be made

“We’ve had a lot of games lately, a lot of work, but now it’s international break so they’ll have a few days off over the weekend, which is well earnt because they’ve worked hard over the last few weeks.

“Then when we get back, we’ll have a week leading up to the Birmingham City game, where we’ll work hard and we’ll look at that, we’ll look at what we’ve done right and wrong, compare what we did right and wrong in the West Brom game and work on those really important little things off the ball that you have to get right if you’re going to win games of football at league level.

“The boys have got to learn that. That’s the game we’re in and although we’re disappointed for them and for myself now, there will be loads to pick up on with individuals and loads of work to do.”

On heading to Birmingham after the break

“It’ll be great. We’ve had the game at Molineux, we’ve had a game here tonight and then our next game at St Andrews.

“Those are where the players want to be playing, we want to be playing in stadiums, but what we have got to do is put on a better performance than we did tonight.”