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WHITNEY DELIGHTED WITH PERFORMANCE IN LEICESTER WIN

9 November 2016

Bakayoko scored the only goal in a 1-0 success...

Saddlers boss Jon Whitney was delighted with his side’s performance in the 1-0 win at Leicester Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy. 

Amadou Bakayoko’s second-half tap-in earned Walsall a richly-deserved victory which secured top spot in Northern Group H. 

The Saddlers - who won all three group fixtures, scoring eight goals in the process – are now guaranteed a home tie in the next round. 

“The three wins are really pleasing but it’s the performances I’m really chuffed with,” Whitney commented. 

“We looked at different things after Saturday [against Macclesfield] and it was the players themselves who highlighted where we went wrong.

“It was a good Leicester team and a great spectacle. Our fans gave us a little bit of atmosphere behind us, but I enjoyed watching us play. 

“It’s great for me to see players enjoying playing football and the energy was outstanding.

“Our defensive shape and energy to limit their options was fantastic and credit to a young team. It just shows the array of talent we’ve got throughout the group.” 

Whitney was particularly pleased with his team’s response after Saturday’s disappointing FA Cup exit against non-league Macclesfield. 

“On Saturday we didn’t keep our shape,” he commented. “We became fragmented and I didn’t feel we played as a team. 

“If you don’t play as a team then we’re very ordinary, but when we play as a team we can do special things. We’re starting to realise that now and it was nice to bounce back with a win. 

“A lot of people will say it’s just the Checkatrade Trophy, but we’re not too many games from Wembley now.” 

Bakayoko has certainly thrived in this competition, scoring five goals in three matches, and Whitney believes it has done him the world of good. 

“It’s good for his confidence and good for the team,” said Whitney. 

“His work rate was really good as he was up there on his own occupying the two centre halves. 

“It was a great bit of play for the goal, with a really good run across the front post. It’s all the stuff we work on and he’s starting to really take on board the advice from the coaches.” 

Burnley loanee Josh Ginnelly also caught the eye with an energetic, all-action performance. 

The teenage winger caused the Leicester defence all kinds of problems with his pace and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet after going close on four occasions. 

“Josh probably shaded my man of the match,” said Whitney. “He showed some good glimpses on Saturday but he maybe just went wandering a little bit. 

“He kept his shape a lot better and was a threat in the wide positions. We posed them problems with how we retained the ball and looked dangerous on the counter attack. 

“He’s realising now who Josh Ginnelly is and he’s somebody who works for the team, and he’s getting credit on the other side because of that.”

The draw for the second round of the Checkatrade Trophy will take place on Sky Sports News HQ tomorrow at approximately 10.30am.

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