Crawley Town head coach Cioffi hails his 'brave squad' after Colchester win

Crawley Town head coach Gabriele Cioffi. Picture by Steve Robards
Crawley Town head coach Gabriele Cioffi. Picture by Steve Robards

Crawley Town head coach Gabriele Cioffi praised his 'brave squad' after they picked up their first League Two win in five with a 2-1 home victory over Colchester United this (Saturday) afternoon.

The Carabao Cup fourth round dress rehearsal was lacklustre in the first half. Both sides were sloppy on the ball and in possession but Luke Prosser's header gave the U's a half-time lead.

But the Reds were superb in the second-half, with the magnificent Reece Grego-Cox leading the charge. The Irishman arrowed home from 20-yards to equalise before Mason Bloomfield nodded home his second goal in two games with ten minutes to go to take the win.

The results sees Crawley move up to ninth, two places and two points outside the play-offs.

Cioffi said: "We were poor in the first half. We weren't us and we didn't bring onto the pitch our way to play.

"In the second half we were us. We didn't have regret because we showed that we are the best in our way.

"We know now we are a brave squad. We are a brave squad that runs free like horses. They're not meant to be in the stable.

"If you run with idea and skill I think in most games we are going to win."

This week the Reds had their first whole week off since September 7. Crawley's remarkable Carabao Cup run and their involvement in the Leasing.com Trophy has seen the Reds play twice a week for the past month and five days.

Cioffi admitted that going back to a normal schedule had 'helped Crawley a lot' on and off the pitch.

The Italian added: "My feeling on this squad is that they (the squad) are fast learners but they need to work on the training ground.

"When you play a lot of games in a row you think that you know what you have to do but in reality you're not doing it.

"Going back to a full week with a daily routine has helped us a lot."

The Reds have also been ravaged by a lengthy injury list. Forwards Ollie Palmer and Ashley Nadesan, and defenders Joe McNerney and Josh Dacres-Cogley were all ruled out for the visit of Colchester.

But the injuries have allowed fringe players to make an impact. In Nadesan and Palmer's stead, Bloomfield has netted two in two, while Tom Dallison and Jordan Tunnicliffe have put in solid performances in the absence of McNerney and Dacres-Cogley.

Cioffi revealed that two of the missing quartet were close to returning, but the Italian stressed that 'every one of the squad' had a part to play and joked that Crawley didn't need to reinforce in January.

He said: "This is the mentality we have created from day one. If Nadesan is out, play Mason, if Ashley (Nathaniel-George) is out play Tarryn (Allarkahia).

"Every one of us is important. We don't need to sign players in January!

"I'm proud of what we have done and we're back on track and we want to keep going.

"Joe McNerney came back to training last week. He's missing 25 percent of his fitness but he's a great professional and he'll be ready soon.

"Ollie should be training with us this week. Nadesan is (back in) a matter of days.

"(Dacres-)-Cogley is a long-term injury so hopefully we should have him back in December."