A first victory in six matches was gratefully greeted by Andy Myers after he watched his side come out on top in a seven-goal thriller against Fulham this morning.
The young Blues secured a third-place finish in the Under-18 Premier League South with one game remaining and Myers reflected afterwards on a positive performance as well as three much-needed points.
‘I thought the performance was really good,’ he told the official Chelsea website after the game. ‘The boys who came into the team did well and we controlled the tempo on the ball. We changed the system and went with a back four for the first time in a while and that 4-3-3 seemed to work well with the personnel we had available.
‘It was a performance that reflected how we’ve been playing recently but with goals. At times in games we’ve done well and created opportunities but we haven’t taken them so it was nice to score four and to go in front early on.’
Back among the goals
Goals from George Nunn, Marcel Lewis and Thierno Ballo put the hosts 3-0 up inside half hour and Myers was full of praise for the third, crafted through slick passing and movement before Ballo provided the finish.
‘It’s such a pleasing goal, almost 20 passes and then making the right decisions at the right time,’ Myers continued. ‘The vital thing for me was when we got into the box because that’s when the final decision was right and you could say that’s let us down a bit this season, where we’ve just fired crosses in and not really thought about things.
‘The initial team play was also good with people running to create angles because keeping the ball is hard and if you’re not supporting at the right times or making runs to create space for other people then it doesn’t work.’
The victory was our first since a 1-0 win on the road at Aston Villa at the start of March and Myers admitted such a run was a strange and difficult experience for his young players.
‘It’s difficult for any team to go through a run like that and especially when you play for a club like Chelsea,’ he said. ‘The one thing with this group though is they will always keep going, regardless of results. You can never fault their energy or their effort.
'Even though we’ve fallen away from challenging for the title in the last couple of weeks, we’ve never lost that mentality of trying to win games because that’s part and parcel of being a footballer.'
— Andy Myers
In assessing the season with just one game remaining, Myers was keen to place the focus on individual player development. While silverware may have eluded us this term, the manager believes plenty of progress has been made both on and off the field.
‘We had the best defensive record in the league until today so it’s really been a lack of goals that has let us down,’ he reflected. ‘When we look back on the season, we definitely look at games where we’ve thrown results away late on - at home to Brighton recently springs to mind – and it would have been interesting to see what the table would have looked like if we hadn’t lost points like that.
‘It’s important to remember these first-year scholars, unlike a lot of previous years, only started full-time programmes in July and you can’t underestimate what a big change that is so I’m really pleased with them and just hope they keep showing that application.’