Coach delighted with Shrewsbury win...Caretaker boss Jon Whitney praised his side’s 'in game management' after the Saddlers beat ten-man Shrewsbury 3-1 to move up to third in League One.
Whitney, along with John Ward and Neil Cutler, was in joint control of the Saddlers following the departure of manager Dean Smith and assistant Richard O’Kelly to Brentford.
And the management trio watched on with glee as goals from Milan Lalkovic, Paul Downing and Jordan Cook secured an impressive comeback win over our near neighbours.
“We were hoping that was the performance we’d get,” said Whitney, who is Walsall’s Head of Medical Department.
“Credit has to go to the players because I thought they were fantastic.
“Dean has left for his new venture but training has been excellent and we went to Shrewsbury determined to win the game.
“It was all about the players’ in game management. We are trying to get these players to self-manage. We are really big on it in training and every game we get them to problem solve.
“I actually said to the players they don’t need us; they can do it themselves because their in game management is that good.”
Victory leaves Walsall just two points off the top of League One – and Whitney believes the result was ‘thoroughly deserved’.
“I thought we were fantastic,” he said.
“In the second half, we stepped it up and were even better. The lads were disappointed at half-time and we had to pick them up.
“They set such high standards but we told them not to beat themselves up, it’s not going to be pretty all the time and they were going to have to dig in.
“The weather played a part as well but the following was fantastic and the fans played a massive part in the win.
“It was thoroughly deserved.”
A proud Whitney also revealed that the players were told to ‘enjoy themselves’ and to prove any doubters wrong.
“We said ‘let’s do it for the players’,” he added.
“We wanted them to go and enjoy the game for what it is; we didn’t want them to be stressed because it’s such an amazing time.
“We’re so friendly as a group and we wanted the players to go out and enjoy themselves.
“As long as you work hard and match the opposition, then you’ve got a freedom to go out and play because your teammates will help you out if you make a mistake.
“And that’s what we did.
“A lot of people will have thought there’d be a little chink in the Walsall armour but we told them to prove them wrong.
“We wanted to show them what kind of squad we’ve built and why we deserve to be title contenders.”