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Club News

YOUTH: Played like we know we can

4 April 2014

Alan Moore on the Blackpool game

Academy manager Alan Moore spoke to us following the away win at Blackpool on Wednesday. 

"The lads responded really well to what we are asking them to do," he said. "We had a difficult first half because it was very windy down there. They're flying high at the top of the league and they're a very big physical team. They did exactly what we thought they would in the first half and they bullied us out of it. 

"We couldn't get going at all, but we gave the lads a bit of a rollicking at half time and that seemed to have an impact. Once they got the ball down, and took the physical side out of the game, they started to play like we know we can."

"We created chance after chance and we ended up getting the rewards for doing the basic things very well," he continued. "The lads looked nervous at the start of the game. I'm not sure if that's because Blackpool are top of the league but we just didn't get going. They allowed themselves to get into a physical battle rather than play their football, which is something we haven't done in the past three games.

"We challenged them at half time to get themselves back into it and they did that straight away. We could have scored more goals than we did in the second half which is a real credit to them. 

"We keep talking about consistency and it's one of the most important things for the young lads. In the conditions yesterday Blackpool tried to make it into a physical battle and they were only going to score from set pieces. The lads stood up to that well and they took their chance to play football when they got it." 

"You could see near the end of the game that the lads didn't want to let the result go," he admitted. "They were all buzzing after the game, because we've won four in a row, but the most pleasing thing is how we responded to the poor first half. They learned from the mistakes they made very quickly. They didn't wait for the 90 minutes to be over and then reflect on it, they did it during the game. 

"We've done really well in terms of results and the mood in the dressing room has been given a huge lift. We trained hard yesterday [Thursday] because the lads might have expected an easy session with it being the day after a game. I don't want that mentality to seep in. If one of those lads was asked to train with the first team they would have had to have been at their maximum, so it's important they know they have to be 100% all of the time. 

"I won't allow them to miss a day of training and I think it was a bit of a wake-up call. The game had gone and there was now way they were going to just come in and laze about just because they'd won. They have work to do and they have to start to focus on the next game immediately." 

"Our next game isn't until Tuesday, against Accrington, and I probably would have preferred to have a game on Saturday if I'm being honest," he said. "We're trying to get Frankie Wallace some game time and we had a couple of players back who haven't played for a while. It was good to get them 90 minutes. 

"Patrick Brough and Kyle Dempsey haven't been with us for a couple of months so it was good for them to play a game as well. With those two playing it meant that two others missed out, and if we'd had a game on Saturday we could have played them, but it's just the way it is. 

"I'm a big believer in playing as many games as possible from the age of 9-18 because I think that's where the lads do most of their learning. We've organised a series of friendly games to make sure lads finish the season in the right way. 

"We'll play all the way up until the end of the season and that should make sure everyone stays in the right frame of mind."

United: Eccles, Thomson, Brough, White (Wallace 82), Chisholm, Dickson, Hodgson, Hammell, Blackburn (Marshall 45), Dempsey, Moyes (Douglas 87). Subs: Brass, Elliot. 

Goals: Hodgson, White.

U17 friendly fixtures:

Friday 18 April - Annan
Saturday 26 April - Gateshead
Friday 2 May - Hartlepool

Kick off timings and venues tbc.

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