YOUTH CUP FINAL REACTION: SET FOR EXCITING HOME LEG
Youth team manager Adi Viveash remains confident Chelsea can retain the FA Youth Cup after a first-leg defeat, although more accuracy in front of goal will be required.
Our Under-18s trail by a single goal following Monday evening's match away to Norwich City that drew a 21,595 crowd. In common with first team games of late, there was drama in the closing moments when the home side scored a penalty. Chelsea had chances to be ahead before that only goal of the game, especially in the first half, but the tie remains finely balanced ahead of the second leg at Stamford Bridge in a fortnight's time.
'I am proud of the way the boys played,' reflects Viveash on the match at Carrow Road.
'In the first half we were exceptional but it was a game of chances and we didn't take them. We have to be more ruthless in the final third and we could have been three up in the first 10 minutes. We played some fantastic football, controlled the tempo of the game, dominated possession but goals change games and you need to get the goal.
'At half-time the game plan was working and we had some top performances. Norwich began to come into it in the second half and there were chances at both ends. We didn't take shots, some shots got blocked, Norwich cleared off the line and the keeper made a good save from a corner.
'It just wasn't our night and we got done by the sucker punch at the end.'
The penalty came when Chelsea central defender Alex Davey fell as he was chasing Norwich winger Josh Murphy who was then tripped. Viveash highlights the fluctuating fortunes of football as it was Davey who moments earlier had played one of the passes of the game to create an opening for Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Unfortunately the midfielder (who is pictured top) didn't quite bring the high ball under control.
'Norwich's front three are dangerous and they started to come more into the game,' adds Viveash.
'Ola Aina was terrific at right-back for us against Murphy.He was just caught out of position once for the penalty but it was a tremendous display by an Under-16 against a very good Under-18 player.
'Nathan Ake was very good but we just didn't quite click in the final third with our front players misfiring a little. If we create the same number of chances in the second leg I will be very confident we are going to take some of them.'
There was a debut at Under-18 level during the first leg of the final when Charly Musonda (pictured below) came on for the final 20 minutes and played on the left wing. He is the younger brother of Lamisha and Tika Musonda who have played for Chelsea Under-21s this season.
'Charly is an Under-16 Belgium international and he has been waiting for his clearance to play,' says Viveash.
'He is an exciting player, very talented on the ball and he can play in a number of positions. It is nice to get him on the pitch and he did some good things when he came on, but I think he learnt a lot about an Under-18 Youth Cup final.
'So he is going to have to work very hard like all the players are. I hope to have everybody fit and available and then I have some difficult decisions for the second leg.
'I am still feeling very positive that we will put on a good show. It is a very exciting final and that is what you want.
'I said in the dressing room after the game that I have seen a lot that encouraged me going into the home game at the Bridge. We need the Chelsea public to get behind us now and really come out in their numbers because I think the boys deserve it, and it could be a special night for us.'
The second leg is on Monday 13 May at Stamford Bridge with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Tickets are now on general sale (maximum of 10 per person) priced at £5 for adults and £3 for juniors/seniors.
Tickets will go off sale online and via the call centre on Thursday 9 May at 12 noon.Tickets will then be sold in person at the box office until 4pm on Monday 13 May.
Disabled supporters should contact the disability department to purchase tickets.