After last night's late winner from Josh Brooking, head coach Mark Robinson has reflected on the victory against one of the best sides in the league by mentioning the team cohesion, from the players right through to every staff member.
Manchester City have proven to be a difficult side to beat for our Under-21s in recent years. Our last victory against City came in the 2019/20 season under Andy Myers, which featured the likes of Armando Broja and Ian Maatsen. On that day, we managed to beat them 2-1. For our last away win against yesterday's opponents, you have to go back to the 2018/19 season under Joe Edwards, when we won 4-1.
Psychologically, yesterday was a massive win for our young Blues and Mark Robinson will be hoping the confidence from this win can be carried forward into the next couple of games.
How we won
'When you play Manchester City it is always a very tactical challenge and although you want to focus on how we can hurt them and what we are going to do with the ball if you do not get your defensive structure and actions right then you will get opened up continuously.
Robinson continued: 'The first 15 minutes they pinned us in to a place we did not want to be but with the players' positive energy and some guidance from Jack Mesure (Under-21s assistant) they solved the issue and spent the rest of the game in good control without the ball and playing some good effective football when we had it. We want to be better in both penalty areas as it wins football matches and is vital for their development.
Robinson wanted to highlight the collaborative efforts from his coaching team and how important they have been, not only in this game but in his entire time as coach of the Under-21s.
Importance of coaching team
'Bill Thompson (Under-21s goalkeeping coach) has started to lead our defensive actions and James Simmonds (Under-21s assistant) our attacking actions. Last night apart from one cross from a second phase in the last minute we dealt with their biggest threat well and our equaliser came from the movement and type of cross we are encouraging the players to do more of.'
In addition to this he pointed out that: 'We have a young group this season so Elliot Axtell (Under-21s coach) and Ben Lonergan (Under-21s coach) are working closely with the medical team, to get the players robust and capable of big outputs. The physical data was again impressive last night so the current feeling among players and staff is a feeling of good progression while wanting more from each other.'
The manner of the win was more important for Robbo and he was in high praise of Josh Brooking and his application.
The young defender joined the group late, missing the beginning of the season, but he has come into the side and been a positive influence. His goal and assist yesterday just highlights how much of a team effort is on display.
'Josh has come back into the group to add some experience as well as keep him developing after not going out on loan this past window. He has already been fantastic for the group.
'When we went five months unbeaten last season, Josh was absolutely pivotal to that run both in his performances and leadership skills.
'He showed that again last night with a quality performance. With a lot of young players around him this is a great opportunity to polish up his excellent leadership skills as well as lead the way in what is expected with his performances, which I am sure he will.'
Adapting to England
One other player to mention is Deivid Washington, who after signing for Chelsea in the summer has been adapting to life in a new country.
The eighteen-year-old in his second appearance for the Under-21s got off the mark with a fine finish into the bottom corner. Robinson praised his individual performance, and analyst Francisco Sueiro who has been supporting his transition into English football.
'Deivid has only recently come into the group and naturally the players and staff are making him feel at home in a different environment. Francisco is getting important detail across to him in Portuguese and making sure all analyst sessions are translated when text is involved.'
In regard to his performance, Robinson said: 'Deivid showed a good understanding of what was needed on and off the ball last night, as well as scoring a good goal. So, he should feel very pleased with his performance. I am sure also there is a lot more to come from him as he fully integrates himself into the squad.'
You can watch our Under-21s in action next on Tuesday 26 September as they take on Northampton Town in their second group-stage game of the EFL Trophy.