‘We defended manfully against strong, hard players’ – Walsall Manager gives Valley Parade verdict…

Walsall manager Mat Sadler commended his team’s impressive away performance against a tough opponent at Valley Parade.

Despite a two-game losing streak, the Saddlers rallied from behind to surprise the Bantams with a well-deserved 3-1 victory.

Sadler was particularly pleased with how his squad handled the challenge and believed their victory was fully justified. While Andy Cook managed to score from the penalty spot, Sadler thought Walsall effectively dealt with their former striker, limiting City to only two shots on target.

He praised his players for their well-timed blocks and headers and their strong work ethic throughout the match. Sadler highlighted their resilience, especially when dealing with crosses into their penalty area.

He acknowledged that they faced a physically imposing opponent with robust and imposing players, especially in aerial duels. However, Walsall successfully coped with this challenge, demonstrating their versatility.

Sadler expressed that apart from a penalty incident he believed was outside the box, his team maintained control of the game. He credited the players for their collective effort.

One player singled out for praise was 19-year-old striker Freddie Draper, who made a significant impact. Sadler described Draper as a difficult player to defend against, noting his ability to occupy both center halves effectively.

He had observed Draper’s performances during his time at Drogheda in the League of Ireland and was not surprised by his contributions. What did surprise him was the consistency with which Draper performed.

Sadler did express caution, recognizing that they have high expectations for the young player and need to manage his development carefully.

However, he emphasized that Draper’s style of play clearly justified the expectations, and his performance as a leading striker in the match was exceptional. He even suggested that the Bradford center backs were likely relieved when Draper was no longer on the field.”

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