Assistant Head Coach Wayne Hatswell was disappointed with the goal the Saddlers conceded against West Ham United Under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night but gave praise to the young Hammers side for the way they played during the game.
A single goal in the second half from Kamarai Swyer was enough to hand the Hammers all three points in the first group game in the Trophy and Hatswell credited the opposition for how they saw the game out once they scored.
“It wasn’t a fair result in my opinion,” Hatswell began. “We have had a lot of the play, 36 crosses into the box but I think we only had six first contacts.
“I think we had a few chances towards the end when we made a few changes and we tried to get the momentum back.
“The goal for them really came out of nothing and it just gives them something to hang on to. Fair play to them, they have dug in deep. I think near enough everyone of them has gone down with cramp but they have put their bodies on the line so well done to them.
“That’s what it takes to win football matches sometimes and despite the crosses going into their box they were there to go and head it. That’s what we want our centre backs to do.
“We were really disappointed with the goal and the nature of it. It was just a simple flick, he is then clear through and he has then beaten Adam at his near post.
“We are then trying to get back in the game but when you have got something to hang on to, they did that better than us and probably showed a bit more fight than us.
“We said it in the presentation before the game that they will get rotations in the midfield, they move the ball quickly and then when you add that they’re fearless to it as in they’re young, they’re fit, they want to go and win the header, they want to go and run and they want to put defenders under pressure when they are clearing it.
“Even when they don’t get it, there’s no disappointment, they make another movement to receive it. It was what we expected, we never leave a stone unturned. I wasn’t surprised by them.
“At the moment for us it is about keeping the squad together, we are trying to rest bodies, we have got the bare 17/18 at the moment and we have enough in the injury room as it is and that means we are caught between a rock and a hard place at the moment.
“We are trying to give players games and minutes and then we are still doing tests on those players who have done pretty relentless work with the league and cup schedule in the first six weeks to two months of the season.
“It’s always going to be tough but I can only say well done to West Ham. We have got to try and put it to bed as we have a huge game to look forward to this weekend which in my opinion is far more important.”