Walsall boss Jon Whitney: Oldham a valuable learning curve

Boss Jon Whitney believes Walsall's second half-performance in the victory over Oldham will prove a crucial learning curve for his new-look side.

Jon Whitney
Jon Whitney

The Saddlers registered their first win of the 2017/18 campaign on Saturday when goals from Joe Edwards and Erhun Oztumer secured a 2-1 win over the Latics.

In what was a clichéd game of two-halves, Whitney's men struggled to break down a resolute Oldham in the opening 45 minutes.

But they were rampant after the interval with the boss believing his squad now knows what it takes to consistently win games in League One.

"It's hopefully a really important turning point for our new squad," Whitney said.

"They have to realise that when we play at a slow pace and when we’re predictable, that isn’t us. We have to play at a high tempo.

"That’s why we do the work that we do. And you get rewarded.

“It’s only the second game of the season. But I think the manner of the performance was pleasing as well.

"We had them on the ropes the whole of the second half.

"It’s important we don’t get carried away. But for me the important thing to come from it was the contrast between the first and the second half.

"We saw what we need to do to play. We are aren’t side that can go route one. We have to play football. We have to play at a tempo where even if teams sit they struggle to contain us."

Whitney was particularly pleased to see ideas from the training ground being replicated on pitch.

"The goals were from second-phase set-pieces which we worked on on Friday," he continued.

"But from open play we were also very good.

"I felt some of the energy, the rotation, the over-lapping the under-lapping – what we work on all week came to fruition.

"That is the best message for the players I think – to see that we are doing something right.

"They can believe in it.

"And now we have to have a really good week and push on from here."

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