Iron manager Graham Alexander praised the application of his players as they won 2-0 at Cambridge on Tuesday night.His side emerged victorious from their final Checkatrade Trophy group match at the Cambs Glass Stadium, after well-taken goals from Luke Williams and Hakeeb Adelakun.
The victory saw United made it three wins from three and finish top of Group G, with the draw for the second round set to come on Thursday morning at 10.30am.
Scunthorpe made seven changes from the team that played at Charlton in the FA Cup first round on Saturday, and the boss was delighted to see several players receive important game time.
“We’re delighted because it’s a tough fixture here. It’s a hard place to come to,” Alexander told The Iron PlayerHD.
“There were a lot of boys out there who haven’t played a lot of football to be honest, throughout the team.
“I thought everyone competed really well, and at a good level with Cambridge.
“I felt it was a good game to be fair, with both teams going for the win.
“It was pleasing to see the two goalscorers, Luke and Haks score with great finishes.
“The clean sheet was important for the lads at the back, and also for Joe Anyon too.
“We were really pleased with everybody on the night.
“I thought all the lads applied themselves in exactly how we want to play. They know the way we train and what we talk about, are part of the first team matchday squad and know how we want to approach games.
“We did that, in the first half especially, very well. Second half, I thought we overcomplicated a few things here and there.
“I know what it’s like when you haven’t played a lot of football, you want to stand out and be brilliant.
“Sometimes the simple things are the good things, but I can understand lads wanting to impress and show what they can do.
“In the first half performance we passed it when we needed to.
“We got in behind a few times and just needed to get that next goal after the first one to give us that breathing space, because Cambridge carried a threat.
“It was only the second goal from Haks near the end that finished the game off.
“We know what these lads can produce and that’s why we value them so highly.
“It’s important that we maintain those standards that we’re setting each week in training in the games.
“You need to have that will to win and every single one of the players challenged for every ball, and we deserved to win the game.
“It was a really good test and we’re really happy to win it.”
Speaking about Adelakun’s goal in stoppage time, the manager added: “It fell awkwardly for him to be honest, he could have had a couple tonight. He got in a couple of dangerous positions and we know he can finish. He took that on the half-volley and it was a superb strike from him to be fair. He just cramped up before he got his somersaults in and so forth!
“I’m really pleased with all the players who have been frustrated due to lack of game time, they’ve trained ever so well and are still pushing to get in that team and when they get an opportunity they take it.
“That’s the importance of applying yourself in the right way.”
Tom Hopper came off midway through the second half and Alexander explained the reasons behind the former Leicester striker’s withdrawal.
The boss said: “He fell awkwardly on his shoulder. Speaking to Chris Burton (head of medical and sports science), he had a shoulder injury last year, and we were a bit concerned it might be something that would flare up. Chris asked him to give us the nod if he was struggling with it and he just sat down in the box.
“He’s being assessed as we speak but hopefully he’ll be okay, because he worked his socks off for us again like he always does.”
86 fans made the journey from North Lincolnshire and Alexander was full of praise for those who travelled to support the Iron.
“At the end of the game we went down to say thank you because it’s fantastic support. We know these early rounds aren’t the glamour rounds,” he said.
“As you can see from the performance, it was a serious matter for us and we’re representing those people in the stands.
“We really appreciate them coming down here on a very cold Tuesday night and giving us their support.
“I’m glad we’ve put on a performance and scored two good goals.”
See much more from Graham Alexander, Jordan Clarke and Joe Anyon on The Iron PlayerHD.
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