The Under-18s remain within touching distance of the top of the table after Saturday's victory over Southampton - Dynel Simeu and Thierno Ballo were on the scoresheet at the Blues claimed a comfortable three points.
The win over Southampton keeps the Blues hot on the tail of local rivals Fulham who top the table on goal difference.
After the game at Cobham, head coach Ed Brand reflected on his team’s performance highlighting his delight with their efforts.
‘I asked the boys beforehand for some togetherness, a performance and three points’, he listed to the official Chelsea website. ‘Those were the three things I expected of them today [Saturday] and I want to always get the first one [goal]. They are a really good group they always work hard for each other and back each other up and that’s not just in games, it’s throughout the week in training – it’s a real strength of theirs.
I’m happy with the performance on a whole, we spoke a lot about game management, managing situations and leads better than we have previously and I saw evidence of improvement away at Newcastle last week in the cup and again I saw more evidence today [Saturday].
It was another game where if we had walked away 5-0 winners there wouldn’t have been too many complaints. I prefer to look at the positives, it’s another clean sheet and three points in the league, it gives us something to build on.’
There were just under thirty minutes of play between our two goals against the Saints and Ballo forced the visitors into a mistake before finishing the move by finding the net for our second. Brand was pleased that his team were finally seeing the rewards of the hard work produced season-long.
‘We speak before every game about the opposition having time on the ball around their penalty area’, Brand explained. ‘One of our biggest strengths is getting after the ball in those situations, pressing and working hard forcing mistakes to create ourselves chances and we’ve done that really well all season but not got as much reward from it as we would have liked, today was pleasing to get a goal from that.’
The Under-18s are next in action on Monday 10 February when Wolves visit Aldershot for round five of the FA Youth Cup. Despite an ever-changing squad the boss credits the group of players and believes any win breeds confidence no matter the competition.
'The teams fluctuate quite a bit which is also a credit to the boys, I don’t think we’ve picked the same Saturday team for consecutive weeks in the league and teams change in the Premier League and Youth Cup but for the group and core of players here in the squad winning football matches will always breed confidence and it’s good timing going into a big game against Wolves,' he said.