Colchester United boss praises ‘higher-class’ Ipswich Town, but bemoans U’s display

John McGreal talks to reporters after Tuesday night's friendly. Picture Pagepix Ltd

John McGreal talks to reporters after Tuesday night's friendly. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Colchester United manager John McGreal insists his players still have a lot of room for improvement, ahead of the U’s League Two opener at Accrington Stanley, next Saturday.

The U’s slipped to a 1-0 defeat in a low-key friendly at home to Ipswich Town on Tuesday evening.

While results matter little during pre-season, individual and team performance are important and the U’s fell short in that respect against the Blues, who prevailed thanks to Joe Garner’s second-half header.

“It was a great game for us,” said former Ipswich defender McGreal.

“The games we have had (up to the Ipswich fixture) we have done particularly well in, but coming up against a side that was a lot fitter and, at times, a good passing side, you could see we were a little short in that department.

“The disappointment for me was our possession (of the ball). Our shape was OK at times, but there are still bits to work on, and against a higher-class opposition, where they move the ball quickly, we have got to think quicker, so it was a great exercise to build on.”

The U’s host League One Gillingham on Friday night, in their final friendly game of the summer, and McGreal is expecting a similar test against Ipswich-born Ady Pennock’s men.

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“That’s why we put these fixtures late on in our pre-season schedule,” he explained.

“We get comfortable with the ball against the other opposition (earlier in pre-season) and we knew Ipswich was going to be a test and Gillingham will be another test.

“The games are great as they allow us to pick the bones out of the analysis and improve.”

Colchester created little against Town, substitute Lewis Kinsella’s deflected cross-cum-shot the closest they came to scoring and McGreal added: “We created little bits in the second half in the wing-back areas, but overall it just wasn’t us in possession at times.

“Give Ipswich credit, they had that extra yard of quickness and when they closed us down and put us under pressure, we need to keep that composure.

“But the boys are getting fitter game by game and come Monday, we will have a good week of training ahead of us before Accrington.

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