GRAEME MURTY was pleased with the standard of tonight’s challenge match against Chelsea U23’s, which marked the opening of the new stand at The Hummel Training Centre.
The Development side coach welcomed the high standard of opposition as the sides drew 1-1.
He said: “It was a good game and it was a good test it is brilliant to bring opposition of that standard up especially on the occasion of opening the stand but our boys got a good work out.
“It is pleasing because we know we have got players who can damage opponents, even opponents of this standard.
“We have to actually go and play against people of this calibre to stress our players in a safe way.
“We have to get them out of their comfort zone but we have to make sure that they understand that we want them to struggle, we want them to be stressed and we want them to be challenged.
“Not because we don’t rate them but because we do.
“We want them to actually go and reach that next level and meet the standard of the players in front of them because if they do that they can go and challenge for a first team position.
A number of first-team players featured in tonight’s match, with defender Filip Helander playing his first 90 minutes for the club.
Murty added: “We had some of the first team players playing 90 minutes and Jon Flanagan getting 60 minutes in his recovery is great for us.
“People can see our players having a contest and having a competition against that team. We were out of our comfort zone for long times tonight which was really really good.
“We had Filip Helander, we’ve got Lewis Mayo learning from him all the way through and we had Andy Firth as well a first team goalkeeper dropping in and giving them experience and communication and showing them the first-team standard of organisation that we need to get to and they can only learn from that.
“Fair play to Chelsea they came and gave us a really really good test even with all the players we had out there it was a good tussle for us and when you go one nil up you hope to hold on but I thought a draw was about right.
“It was Filip’s first 90 minutes since he has come to the club, he said he was a bit tired and he will be but we needed to make sure that it was a meaningful game not just and occasion to open the stand, although it was a good occasion, we needed to make sure it was a proper game.
“I thought Chelsea came with a good attitude and with good quality and caused us some problems.
“That is the kind of game we want and those are the standard of players we want to be playing against and our players enjoyed it and they are bit fatigued in the changing room right now.”
Murty welcomed the opening of the new stand and hopes fans will get behind the Academy teams.
“It’s awesome, I mean it is good to see it full for the first day but we need people to come and fill it every single game we have.
“The changing rooms in there are great because we have got linked tv’s so we can do our changing room meetings in there, we can show them everything and we can leave our set plays on a loop for the players to watch and know where they are going.
“It has just given us a new level of facility at the football club and we are really really grateful and I think the players really enjoyed playing in front of it.”