Richard Shaw praised his side for how they reacted after the break, coming back from a disappointing first period to hit three goals in 16 minutes to put themselves in total control as a Kian Flanagan hat-trick helped them run out 4-0 winners in the development match against Barnsley at Selhurst Park.
“It was a game of two halves, it really is that simple. In the first half I thought we were poor in and out of possession especially as we had worked hard on our patterns of play which was excellent in a small sided game. I thought they were going to take that out on the pitch but they didn’t in the first half and we had a few words at half time about working harder and sticking to our principles that we had worked on. To be fair I thought the first fifteen minutes of the second half was as good as I have seen in a couple of years of working with the 23s. We blew Barnsley away, the goals were terrific, our movement was good and a clean sheet as well so overall a good afternoon," reflected Shaw as he heaped praise on the performance of 19 year old Flanagan, who will always remember his first hat-trick at the club’s headquarters.
“I am delighted for Kian because he has come back and started the season really well, he has seen boys go up to and train with the first team and he has not quite got to that stage and some lads may have got quite disillusioned but he has come back with an absolutely terrific attitude so I am really pleased with him today. I thought he deserved his goals and you reap what you reward and he has worked really hard pre-season and I am so pleased for him because he is a great kid.”
James Daly was able to take his place in the Under 23s even though he is out on loan to Bostik League club, Kingstonian, because loanees in that league are still eligible to play in Under 23s fixtures when they do not clash with Kingstonian fixtures, which take priority. Shaw believes Daly will only benefit from the additional game time he will enjoy in the coming months.
"James is one of those guys who just likes to play football, he is out on loan but there is a lot to do with him in terms of his game, he needs to retain possession better at times for an example but what he does give you is an unbelievable work ethic and his attitude is absolutely brilliant but part of the agreement of him going out on loan is that he can still play for us in the 23s and we need to work hard with him and he knows that but you won’t get a better player in terms of cracking on and trying to make a career out of it for himself."
Even though last season’s title winning triumph was a major achievement for the development squad, Shaw always takes the progression of the lads as a lead to how successful the season has been and is hoping next close season he has another who he has seen move onto the next level at the club.
“My main priority when I sat down on the summer was not us having won the league but was having got a lad through into the first team with Aaron Wan-Bissaka. That for me was a massive achievement because not only did he make the step up but he became a better person all round. This season for me is the same thing, can we get anyone in and around the first team training and get them in the thoughts of the manager. It’s not easy but if the boys are developing then I am delighted, winning does breed confidence but I try and look at the whole picture.”
Watch the highlights of the Under 23s and post match interviews now or if viewing on the app go to Palace in the bottom menu.