Good morning All Positives,
An evening we all expected to be an easy run out developed as planned. The Ukranian side had some ability and were fit and organised but never threatened an upset or even, unfortunately, to give our fringe players who stepped up for the evening a hard work-out. The half empty stadium was a bit different to the riotous FC Koln
riot opener last season.
I don’t think anyone in red had a poor game and because of that my eye was drawn to our younger players for most of the evening. I was pleased to see Torreira have a start and he did not disappoint. The game allowed me to see a bit more of the Uruguayan’s creative and passing side rather than his tackling and shutting down attributes. Even a cheeky free kick to test the side netting which was not expected! In the few weeks LT has been with us I see him a little sharper, a little more confident. Guendouzi put in a good 35 minutes as his replacement and his tackling has become cleaner and more decisive in just a few weeks. I have no qualms about either, or even both, starting on Sunday against Everton.
Our other young starting debutante Leno never really had enough to do to prove himself. If the German is indeed “good with his feet” we will have to wait and see. Our keeper was a little unlucky to concede two goals in the closing stages but neither were shots that he was responsible for or could have stopped. Smith-Rowe flashed like greased mercury for 20 minutes. Our oldie new boy Lichsteiner performed wholly as expected, professional to the tips of his highly polished Swiss boots.
Four goals, all well taken, not too much sweat or drama. A solid Europa League foundation before we set off for our next fixture in Baku on the 4th. I can see our qualification for the knockout phase, and this group stage therefore being over before the end of October.
Enjoy your Friday. The weekend beckons.