Birchall speaks to Valiant Player post-match
Midfielder Chris Birchall believes Vale didn’t play the way they know how in the first-half against Leicester City, after the Valiants lost 1-0 against the Championship side at Vale Park.
Birchall was thrust into the starting 11 after returning from international duty with Trinidad and Tobago in the Gold Cup and he was pleased to test his fitness levels in front of the manager.
“The gaffer came in and said before the game it was more of a hustling session. He wanted fitness out the game and to go and pressure the ball,” he told Valiant Player.
“We probably didn’t do that today to the best of our extent in the first-half and they punished us and I think the gaffer was happier with the second-half performance.”
Vale switched to three at the back with two wing-backs down the flanks, with the right side occupied by Birchall himself, the midfielder believes the change helped improve their performance in the second-half.
He said: “Maybe the change in formation suited us a little bit more. Overall it’s pre-season so it is fitness work.
“He wasn’t to happy (at half-time), just because we weren’t really getting around the ball and doing what he said which was hustle them and try and pressure them and don’t let them play.”
“I think in the middle of the park they overran us three versus two even though we had a couple of chances they probably had the better of the first-half,” he said.
With Birchall now back at Vale Park ahead of the new season in League 1 he will be eager to show he is fit and raring to go come August 3.
Birchall told Valiant Player he hasn’t let his fitness slip over the close season after completing a five-week training camp with the Trinidad and Tobago national team.
He said: “For me personally it was good fitness work, I’ve been through a five week camp with Trinidad which was gruelling.
“It was nice game so quick into coming back so the gaffer could have a look at me and see that I haven’t been taking it easy and I have been working hard and come back and try and fight my way into the first-team.”
Watch the full interview with Birchall on Valiant Player.