Darrell Clarke impressed with defensive display following smashing of Stanley
CRAWLEY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Darrell Clarke, Manager of Port Vale during the Sky Bet League Two match between Crawley Town and Port Vale at The Peoples Pension Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Crawley, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

The Port Vale manager revealed that his side's defensive showing is what pleased him most following the Valiants’ 5-1 thrashing of Accrington Stanley in the first round of the FA Cup.

An impressive hat-trick by James Wilson along with first goals for the club by Newcastle United loanee Lewis Cass and Cheltenham Town loan forward George Lloyd saw Vale cruise to a very comfortable victory against superior opposition.

On the defensive display

Clarke opted to go with a familiar back three with two wing-backs and after the game when questioned on what he was pleased about the most during the afternoon, he said that even when under pressure, he was proud of his defence's resilience.

"The defence at times were under the cosh in the first half. They moved the ball very well, credit to them.

"We never got a real good foothold apart from that bit of magic for the goal, maybe one or two attacks first half and then second half I thought we had more control."

On FA Cup advancement

The 43-year-old went on to say that despite not every aspect of their game being perfect, he was elated with their progression to the next round of the FA Cup.

"Delighted to get in the next round of the cup. The bonus is the goals.

"I thought first half we probably took an undeserved lead, one moment of brilliance from Wilson.

"A little change of formation certainly helped us in the second half to get us a little bit more control in the central midfield areas.

"The goals kept coming after their lad got the sending off, so delighted to be in the next round."

On Wilson hat-trick

Wilson's hat-trick this afternoon takes his tally of the season to six goals, levelling him up with the club's top goalscorer this season Jamie Proctor, who was sidelined today with a hernia problem.

The former Manchester United youth player failed to open his account in the first eight appearances that he made for the club, but recently he has really found his feet and is a consistent member of the squad.

When speaking on the 25-year-old, Clarke said: "He’s a great lad. He is a model pro, he has been at some big clubs and he is enjoying his football.

"That is the remit I got when I brought him in here. I want him to enjoy his football, work hard for the team, which he has done on every occasion.

"Get his training plan right which I think is very important for him and we know he has that ability to score goals."

On not getting overconfident

Vale are enduring an excellent run of form as they are unbeaten in the last five games, winning four of those and in League Two they are positioned second, only three points off the top.

Regardless of this, Clarke insists that it is important that he and his team don't get carried away as it is still early on in the season.

"It builds confidence and we are on a crest of a wave, so it is really good”, he said.

I think that is nine wins in 11 in all competitions and that is a hell of a run, probably not matched even at the best clubs in the country.

"So we have to control that and make sure we don’t get complacent, don’t get overconfident and keep working as hard as they are working in training to make sure that we reset for the next 90 minutes of football, where anything can happen again."