Ed Brand was pleased to see his Under-18s side continue their unbeaten start to the season with victory over Reading, even if he saw plenty of room for improvement.
The young Blues triumphed 2-1 at Cobham to make it five wins from six league fixtures so far, with the only two dropped points coming against the Premier League South’s other undefeated team Brighton in our previous match.
After seeing his Chelsea team return to winning ways against the Hoops, Brand was pleased to both continue their run of good results and give opportunities to some of the players who have had to be patient in the early stages of the campaign.
‘It keeps the momentum going,’ he said. ‘Like I keep saying, it is a work in progress, but that keeps the energy levels high and the belief in what we are doing.
‘It was good that a couple of players got on the pitch who have worked really hard – Charlie Wiggett and Josh Brooking got their chance, it was George Nunn’s first start of the season and Jordan Aina got on at the end.
‘Those were all encouraging signs and Sam Iling-Junior, who is an Under-16, got 90 minutes as well. It’s something we’ve always done at this club, try to give young players an opportunity, and them getting minutes under their belt was another positive along with the result.’
While it may not have been the Blues’ best performance of the season, the other point Brand took away from the game was how the players managed to get the result they wanted despite not quite hitting the kind of form which has led to their excellent start.
‘I said to the boys afterwards we weren’t good enough on the ball throughout the game and when you don’t play well you expect to lose games, so the real plus is that they found a way in a scrappy game to take the three points.
‘Getting a cushion of two goals is something we’ve struggled to do this season. We’ve played a lot better than we did in this game and not really got the rewards for it, so to go 2-0 up is encouraging.
‘Then again, on the flip side, I’d have liked us to have seen it out and win the game 2-0 or 3-0, not to concede and have to defend like we needed to in the last few minutes.
‘But like everything it’s a work in progress and something we’ll look back on during the week and try to improve on for the next game.’