Money on Norwich
Cambridge United Manager Richard Money reflects on Friday’s pre-season encounters against Norwich City.
Returning to the Abbey Stadium for the first time ahead of the 2015/16 Football League season, Barry Corr’s opener looked to have got the better of the Canaries until Gary Hooper equalised with the final kick of the first 60 minute encounter. That result was followed by another impressive performance, as the Premier League opposition were made to work extremely hard for a 0-2 win against a youthful United outfit.
Money states the U’s discipline and structure were particularly commendable, when taking into consideration the large number of new signings to have joined the club in recent weeks and the short period of time since the beginning of pre-season.
“Friday was a great exercise for the team because having so many new players together at once means it’s hard to give them all the opportunity to play like that,” said the Cambridge United boss.
“Due to the fitness work required in pre-season and the first two games, we haven’t really had the necessary time to work on our organisational skills.
“Add to that the fact that Conor Newton walked through the door at 6am on the morning of the game and Jeff Hughes just two days earlier, overall I felt the organisation of the team was very good, which in part is down to the quality of the players we had out on the pitch.
“We can take real encouragement from that.”
He continued: “I thought in the first 60 minute game we were good. Norwich obviously had a lot of the ball but our organisation was strong and we had one or two periods where we were able to put one or two passes together and carry a threat.
“To lose the goal with virtually the last kick of the game was disappointing because it would have been a big feather in the cap to have taken the win with what was our core group of players.
“The second 60 minutes was always going to be more difficult because we didn’t have the squad depth that they have. We ended up with three youth team players on the pitch, playing in different positions and the way that they performed with such a young group was really good as well.”
Delighted that a number of players have put their names into the mix for a starting spot against Newport County in the season opener next month, Money also reflects positively on the unique 120 minute format of the evening.
He said: “The format of the game gave us a chance to look at as many partnerships on the pitch as possible. Corr, Slew and Simpson played two periods each together and it was the same situations at both centre back and in midfield.
“With Keane and Donaldson injured at the minute the midfield was stretched a little bit but we were able to share the minutes as best we could.
“More than anything it was important we gave everybody a chance to get as many minutes as possible to put themselves in the frame for 8th August against Newport County. I certainly felt a number of players did that.”
Tickets for Tuesday's pre-season match against Ipswich Town at the Abbey Stadium are available by clicking here.