Caretaker Wolves Under-23s coach Mark Kennedy admitted he almost felt like a fan watching the 1-1 draw against Paris Saint Germain because the quality of the football was so good.
Wolves battled back from conceding after 27 seconds to Alexandre Fressange’s header take a point from their first group game in the Premier League International Cup courtesy of Dan Csoka’s 57th-minute header.
A crowd of 5,448 watched the game on a freezing night at Molineux to create an atmosphere for the youngsters, and Kennedy was among those impressed.
“I loved it. I almost fell into a bit of a fan zone,” said the former Wolves winger. “I thought it was a very good game of football.
“I thought both clubs deserve a huge amount of credit for how they played.
“As a coach, you focus on the game. You have a million things going on, you are looking at various things but as a coach I was watching the game thinking ‘this is brilliant’.
“They played in the right way. PSG were exactly what I thought they would be – really technical, some of their passing was outstanding and it was a pleasure to be on the same pitch as them.
“Equally, I thought our players showed themselves to be a very good team. I thought we controlled the game in passages really well.
“Overall I’m really pleased and then finally in terms of the last bit we want to win the game.”
Wolves were rocked by conceding so early in the game, but in hindsight, Kennedy was pleased because it created another psychological hurdle for his players to clear.
“From a learning perspective, I’m not glad it happened, but from a development coaching perspective, I’m really pleased because our lads were nervous,” he reflected.
“I could tell before the game, I could tell in the warm-up, and we did various things to calm them down.
“All the training you do, and all the phases of play cannot replicate 6,000 fans at Molineux on a beautiful night.
“So it was brilliant for me as a coach and for them because you watch some games some weeks if a goal goes in like that it ends up being a cricket score.”
Kennedy was delighted with the players’ response, as they worked their way into the game with midfielder Taylor Perry and forward Chem Campbell twice going close.
“The fact they responded so well in the manner they played, I’m really pleased for them. It is great learning, brilliant,” added the former Ireland international.
“It was brilliant. In academy football in England there are some fantastic teams, who are technically very good.
“We played Liverpool recently and some of their stuff was excellent. When I watched the footage of PSG I looked at them and said ‘wow’. In terms of technical ability, they are fantastic. It was really good learning.”
Wolves Under-23s have conceded late goals recently, so Kennedy was relieved his players saw out the four minutes of added time without leaking another.
“These lads have been on the end of some really harsh results with late goals,” he said.
“So in terms of obstacles, it was really important they saw the game out professionally.
“I said to the linesman ‘how long is extra time?’ He said ‘another four minutes’ and I thought ‘this is our danger zone’.
“This is what we have to cut out this year and I thought that was an important obstacle. That was a big thing for us.”