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Taylor: Plenty to learn from Villa test

22 July 2021

Walsall Head Coach Matt Taylor felt last night’s friendly against Aston Villa was a good learning curve for both coaching staff and players.

The Saddlers fell to a 4-0 defeat against the Premier League side with Ollie Watkins scoring twice and further goals from Jaden Bidace and Aaron Ramsey.

While Taylor was disappointed with the result, he felt there was plenty for his side to take from the game against top flight opposition.

“It was a really good game for us and there was a lot that we learnt as coaches about the players,” he said.

“I think you have to take your hat off to how good Aston Villa were and put things into context slightly. Yes, we were extremely disappointed that we lost the game 4-0 but for our players it gives them a slight understanding about what top level footballers are, their movement on and off the ball.

“It all comes down to decision making both in and out of possession. Often enough, we didn’t make the right decisions on the ball but let’s be brutally honest they’re an extremely good team and if you look at the balance of tonight, will have a successful season in the Premier League.

“We’re trying to get our players up to speed as quickly as possible. We’ve had a slightly disrupted pre-season with certain members of the playing staff missing on important days during training through injury so we’re playing catch up.

“The important thing was that the players got to experience how quickly they move the ball, the opposition in the Premier League, their movement and the way they manipulate the opposition but the biggest thing for me to take is we’ve come up against a really good team and in possession, out of possession there are plenty of things for us to learn so when we look at the game and feed it back to the players, we use it as a positive impact for us moving forward.

“Let’s not get away from the fact that we’re still building towards the 7th August. We’ve got three more fixtures and plenty of opportunities to get minutes into our players to make sure we’re ready for the first game of the season.”

The Saddlers are back in action on Saturday with a trip to National League North side Kidderminster Harriers.

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