Matt Taylor happy with Walsall despite pre-season defeat

Boss Matt Taylor found plenty of positives as Walsall opened pre-season with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Premier League Crystal Palace.

Matthew Taylor.
Matthew Taylor.

Wilfried Zaha’s 41st minute strike was the only goal of the game as the Saddlers put in a commendable performance against their higher-ranked opponents, in Taylor’s first match at the helm.

Goalkeeper Carl Rushworth, who joined Walsall on a season-long loan from Brighton, caught the eye with a flying save to deny Zaha with the game goal-less.

Another of the Saddlers new boys, Kieran Phillips, came close to snatching a draw for the hosts when he hit the bar late on.

Palace, beginning their own new era under Patrick Vieira, fielded a strong starting XI and Taylor believes his players will have learned from the experience.

“It gives the players a flavour of just how good some of these guys actually are,” he said.

“We are all looking to learn off other people. If our players can take something from the game today from one of their opposite numbers.

“What I will say is I thought our tempo in possession was good. We risked the ball at times and I would like to see us do that a bit more and trust each other a bit more.

“But that will come. It is still a new group with bonds which will form over time. We came through it with no injuries, which is the main thing. We exposed our players to a high level of football in an 11v11 fixture so I’m really happy.”

Taylor, who fielded eight of his 11 summer signings including eigh in the starting line-up, confirmed Conor Wilkinson, Joss Labadie and Jack Earing had all missed out with minor injuries.

“It is nothing too serious. We are talking about guys who know their own bodies,” he said. “Everyone wants to see them out on the pitch. They are working hard to get out there.”

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