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PHIL PARKINSON | Manager insists "We will get better"

Boss calls for better quality in possession after 'tense' opening game

22 August 2021

Phil Parkinson admitted Wrexham were ruing two dropped points after an opening-day draw away to Solihull Moors.

After conceding early to Joe Sbarra’s brilliant strike, Wrexham looked to be heading home with all three points after Paul Mullin and David Jones scored to turn the game around.

But Sbarra’s stoppage-time equaliser earned the hosts a point, and Parkinson called on his players to improve in possession after getting a ‘tense’ first game of the campaign out of the way.

“We restricted them to very little in the second half – they’d had good possession but hadn’t really hurt us, so to concede like that obviously is a disappointment because it’s two points dropped,” he said.

“It’s that moment of concentration right to the end of the game and we just switched off – the lad’s come in from the edge of the box and smashed it in. It hurts, but we’ve got to dust ourselves down and we move on to next week.

“My assessment of the game was I thought we started edgy. We looked edgy and I think that was a two-fold thing: first game of the season, and also we had a bit of a makeshift backline in with the disruption we’ve had in terms of injuries.

“Second-half I thought we were better, but we still didn’t show enough quality when we had the ball. I thought we gave it away too cheaply at times, and we know looking at the performances in pre-season and the way we’ve passed the ball that we’ve done that well previously.

“There’s a lot of good things – the work ethic, the togetherness of the group, but we needed to settle quicker in the game and at times we needed to show that little bit of quality when we got the ball back.

“I do think the occasion contributed. I thought there was just that little bit of tension and maybe it’s good to get the first one out of the way.

“We’ve got a point, we’re off and running – it should have been three but every game is going to be tough, we know that. We’ll get better, we’ve got players coming back into the frame and also we’ll have a bit more quality coming in.”

Injuries to summer signings Shaun Brisley and Harry Lennon meant a first league start in defence for Max Cleworth.

And Parkinson was forced into another reshuffle when Reece Hall-Johnson was stretchered off with a groin injury in the second half.

But the manager was keen to insist that, while he is still targeting new faces before the end of the transfer window, he is not afraid to give younger players like Cleworth an opportunity.

“Max has done well,” Parkinson said. “He did well on loan last year and he’s a good pre-season. Obviously it’s been disrupted, he had two sets of ten days’ isolation, and it was a big call to put him in but we just felt he showed enough to deserve a chance.

“It’s also good for the young players at the Club. They’ve got to see that the management team aren’t afraid to put youngsters in.

“I thought he got better as the game went on. It was a big ask for him at the centre of the back three, it’s a lot of responsibility, but that’s a good game for him under his belt and he’ll get better for it.

“Reece looks like he has damage to his groin and that’s a real blow for him and for us. It’s just that bit of disruption as I’ve said already. We have a disjointed look at the back, and we had to make another change, but those things happen and we have to be able to contend with injuries.

“My thinking is still exactly the same. We still need to bring some players in. Everyone can see that we’re not quite there yet. We’ve added some quality but we need a bit more and we’ll be working hard to get that.”


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