Interview

Under-18s reaction: Finding a different way

Andy Myers thinks a tough match against accomplished opponents and in challenging conditions was an invaluable experience for his team after their 2-1 win over Norwich.

The Blues overcame strong gusting winds and a physical, energetic Canaries side to earn a narrow victory at Cobham, our Under-18s' seventh in a row in all competitions.

While their coach admitted the overall performance left a little to be desired, he was pleased to see his players adapting to find new ways to win after seeing their usual game nullified in a difficult goalless first half.

'It's a great learning experience when you can do that,' he explained. 'The thing they have to understand is that when the conditions are like that, we may have to change it a little bit. We have to try and find that different way out. Football's not always played the same, sometimes you have to find that longer ball.

'We did that in the second half and it stretched the game a little bit. It wasn't so much tactical as getting it into them a little bit at half-time, it was more about getting the players to do things better on and off the ball. We have to be able to do that in these conditions as well, because you're going to get that no matter what level you play at. You can talk about the conditions, but we need to be better on the ball, it was a bit sloppy at times.

'We were probably a bit lucky to go in at half-time 0-0. We played a lot better in the second half, but not as well as we could. Take nothing away from Norwich, though. They were very well organised and it made it a very, very tough game, so it was pleasing to come through it 2-1.'

Wakely celebrates his goal against Norwich with Marcel Lavinier

One player who certainly made his presence felt in that second half was captain Jack Wakely, as the centre-back scored a screamer of a winning goal from 35 yards, the first time he has registered on the score sheet for the Under-18s.

'We did some finishing practice in training and, whether it's right or wrong, Jack was probably our best finisher,' said Myers. 'It wasn't by fluke that he was hitting the top corners in training.

'When he took the ball he was positive with his first touch, he wanted to hit it on his left foot, and he showed that again in the game. It was a great strike and I was pleased for him.'

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