Jon Whitney hailed Amadou Bakayoko’s performance as “outstanding” after the young striker scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Sheffield United.
The decisive moment came on 42 minutes, when Bakayoko chased Erhun Oztumer’s long pass and prodded past the onrushing Simon Moore for his seventh goal of the season.
“I thought Ama was outstanding,” said Whitney. “They couldn’t handle him in that game and he’s been building towards that.
“He’s starting to realise what his game is and sometimes it takes time with young players.
“You could say the goal was off the training pitch as we said that when Oz was on the ball, we needed to stretch them.
“They’ve got three big centre-halves so you’ve got to get them turning back to their own goal, which I thought we did very well.
“It was a great run from Ama, a great pass and he deserved it because he put a real shift in.”
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge also made a key, match-winning contribution, saving Billy Sharp’s 84th-minute penalty low down to his left.
“Eths and Cuts [Neil Cutler] work on penalties and they spend about half an hour in the hotel looking at them before a game,” Whitney added.
“They look at which players take penalties and where they tend to put it. Eths works on bio-mechanics as well, so he’s got a good idea from the run up where he’s going to put it.
“You can see the work they do pays off.”