Hong Kong Soccer Sevens: Verity pleased with unblemished start
Sean Verity felt his Villa side grew in stature during a successful first day at the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens.
Villa topped Group D without conceding a goal, earning wins over Kowloon CC and Citizen as well as a draw against BC Rangers.
And coach Verity reckons his team looked more assured with every game as they secured a safe passage into Sunday's knockout stages.
After leaving it late to edge Kowloon CC by a single goal in game one, the claret and blues flourished in their second outing with a 4-0 triumph over Citizen.
They were dominant in the goalless draw with BC Rangers despite failing to find a breakthrough.
"If you'd have told me this morning we'd score five goals and we'd win the group I'd have been absolutely fine with that," said Verity.
"They are growing into it. The only note of caution is perhaps we haven't played one of the strongest sides yet.
"It will be interesting if we come up against another English side tomorrow. That will be a real good test for us.
"But we are very pleased with today. We haven't given up many chances but when they have had a chance we've been really strong in the tackle and that's probably the most pleasing thing for me - not to have conceded.
"The second game obviously the performance was really good, getting the four goals.
"I thought the performance in the third game was pretty good as well but we didn't manage to finish the decent chances we had.
"In the first game, it was a good learning experience for us because a lot of the lads are new to it.
"They just sat off and let us play while we just kept the ball and kept moving us around. But I knew we'd score, I wasn't worried at all."
Verity paid tribute to stand-in shot-stopper Jamie Devonshire who was drafted in to solve Villa's goalkeeping crisis.
The 26-year-old expat did his confidence no harm by keeping three clean sheets.
"I'm actually really pleased for him," said Verity.
"He looked absolutely frightened to death this morning when he came here!
"He's been thrown in at the last minute with lads that he doesn't know.
"His talking has got better as the games have gone on and you can actually see that he lads have started to get more confidence in him.
"Three clean sheets will give him a bit of confidence. It is fantastic for the kid and without him we'd be struggling."
Verity believes there is plenty more to come from Jack Grealish - a hat-trick hero in the victory over Citizen.
"Jack is more than capable of producing that," added the head coach.
"As the season has gone in he has got more used to the challenges that are in front of him.
"This is made for him. If people are prepared to let him get a half-turn and let him run at them then that's a big problem for them because that is what his game is based on and he is very good at it.
"Just one or two more goals would be really nice."
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