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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Thursday, September 17th 2020

'Competition for places is exactly what we want' - Holden

City Head Coach Dean Holden joked he’d be heading for the chemist for "a pack of paracetamol" after his squad gave him a selection headache to relish with a 4-0 win over Northampton Town.

His side were in scintillating form, particularly in the second half, with goals from Chris Martin, Antoine Semenyo and a brace from Kasey Palmer setting up a Carabao Cup Round Three tie with Aston Villa.

Holden named nine changes for the Wednesday night encounter with Keith Curle’s Cobblers and he was full of praise for how everyone stepped up their game as he plans his move for Sunday’s trip to Stoke City.

Competition for places

Holden said: “It’s a trip to the chemist for some paracetamol I think but that’s what you want. You want players in form, confident, and ready to grab their opportunity when they get it. There’s definitely competition for places, that’s exactly what we want.”

Holden explained how he told the players to “go out and be the best you can be” ahead of kick-off and hailed the new faces for “a really good performance tonight.”

Kalas suffers injury but team rally

He also reflected on how the team responded to losing captain Tomas Kalas early into the game, who has suffered a shoulder injury.

Holden said: “We lost Tomas early in the game which was not what we wanted but you have to find the solutions to these problems. Tayls (Taylor Moore) came on, he’s mentally ready and physically he handled himself well. All these things help us in the long term.

“I’ve asked what the lads who have gained promotion about what it takes and it’s momentum, particularly early in the season, gaining confidence. A lot of players and staff have come through the door in five weeks, so we’re building slowly, it’s been a steady start and it’s a big game on Sunday.”

Goals galore top off exciting display

Holden was also full of praise for the clinical nature shown by his players, though City could had had even more goals on Wednesday night.

“The second half was a joy to watch but these are a tricky opponent. They put Cardiff City to bed [in Round One] and if we’d have allowed them to play as they wanted to play, they could have physically dominated us and they tried to.

“The first 35 minutes or so was about getting foundation for the performance. We were a little nit sloppy in the final ball but when we took care of that, we started to move the ball. We aimed so longer passes which went astray, they allowed them to go for a second so 30-40 seconds later the momentum gets away from you.

“We moved the ball better after that. The goal from Antoine was disallowed, then we got the goal after fantastic play from Niclas, we hit the woodwork then you can understand the rallying call from Keith Curle and his staff at half-time.

“We went through a mini game plan for the start of the second half, how we were going to take the game away from Northampton but I didn’t realise we were going to score as early as we did which helped.

“Then it was about being clinical, getting minutes in the legs and making sure we nullified their attacks. We did switch off a couple of time so we have to keep working on that, we’re nowhere near where we want to be. It’s three wins from three which is pleasing of course, all attention is on Stoke now which is huge for us.”

Watch: Dean Holden post-Northampton Town interview

 

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