YOUTH: It's about performances

Academy manager Alan Moore on the Preston game

Academy manager Alan Moore gave us his reaction to the Preston home game last weekend as the lads got back into competitive action for the first time this year.

“A lot of what we saw on Saturday was very pleasing,” he said. “We learned an awful lot from the lads with what we saw. It’s really pleasing when you can see them in a competitive game because it’s totally different to the friendly games we’ve been playing.

“We analysed it on Monday, we looked at the DVD, and we’ve already gone through a lot of the stuff from that. We worked on some things in training and we’re able to use everything to help us to take some more positive steps forward.”

“It definitely brings a different edge for the lads when points are at stake,” he confirmed. “You could tell before the game they were desperate to play. They’d built themselves up, because it’s been eight or nine weeks since they had a game like this, and it was good to see them in that frame of mind.

“We were able to look at things like mental attitude, and the psychological side of it, particularly with them conceding a couple of goals and going behind. It was an excellent game for me from a development point of view.”

 “You could tell that Preston had played a couple of games in the last few weeks,” he told us. “Our lads tired towards the end, but that was to be expected. I spoke to them before the game to remind them that it is all about their development. It’s a two-year process and we’re not too worried about results. It’s about how they perform on the day. 

“The first half was probably along the lines of what you would expect from your first pre-season friendly fixture in the summer. We had a lot of people running round with a lot of nervous energy. We had players who possibly weren’t making the right decisions but that’s because they were all desperate to do well.

“We had a good chat about it during the break, and they settled down and they played the ball around. We saw much more of what we’ve been expecting them to do on a daily basis. That was really pleasing.”

“What you have to appreciate with the young lads is that they want to win every game,” he explained. “They have to get the message that it isn’t about that at this stage of their careers. It’s about performances.

“If they give us that every week, individually and collectively, then they’ll be doing their jobs. If they all achieve it on the same day then the result will generally look after itself. We’re all about producing players for the first team and we’re just hoping they can take the information we’re giving them on board.”

And the game gave the new youth boss a chance to look at some of the players at the younger end of the age range.

“We got a chance to bring some young lads in and that’s something they’ll have enjoyed,” he said. “Matthew Douglas played at centre half for the full game and he was outstanding. We haven’t had him in on a day-to-day basis so he didn’t really understand the concepts. However, he adapted and he had a good game.

“I’ve brought a few different little ideas in since I took over and I asked him to do certain things at half time. He did them straight away in the second half and that’s the development side for a player that you want to see. 

“We also got Ellis Pearson on in midfield in the second half and he applied himself tremendously well. You always come away feeling happy when you’ve seen the development side of the job pay off. All we want is to bring the kids forward and give them the best chance possible of making their progression from our group to the next group as seamless as possible.”

“Overall it was a good day and good to get a league fixture under our belts,” he concluded. “We have a bit of a fixture backlog at the moment and there are some tough games ahead. 

“We are now asking the lads if they can apply the bits and pieces we’ve been telling them and bring them into the next game. It’ll be good to see how they respond against Oldham on Saturday.”

United – Brass, Thomson, Chisholm, Douglas, Marshall, Hammell, Moyes, White, Elliott (Pearson 65), Hodgson, Blackburn. Subs – Eccles, Dickson, Hurley, McCue.

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