Academy manager Alan Moore with a match reaction update
Academy manager Alan Moore gave us his appraisal of the recent White Star and Wrexham fixtures earlier this week.
“The lads are feeling confident at the moment because they’ve got a couple of wins under their belts,” he said. “The cup game at White Star last weekend was a different sort of challenge for them so it’s been an interesting few weeks for them.
“They’ve played on the main pitch in the FA Youth Cup and they’ve been away at Frizington so they’ve seen all different aspects of what football can throw up. We took a while to settle in the Cumberland Cup game and, being honest, we didn’t play too well in the first half.
“I think we were a bit afraid of what was coming so we didn’t get our passing game going at all. Credit to them because they stepped it up after the break and we were pleased with what we saw.”
“It came down to them getting used to dealing with men’s football and the things their players said to them, and things like that, so it was quite daunting for them,” he added. “Some of them were stuck in the headlights a bit but once they got the ball down and started playing they were fine. It’s all about learning new things and you get that from games like that one. That can only be good for them.
“We didn’t really bother with a team talk at full time because they’d equipped themselves really well. They’d had all sorts to deal with, with the cup and league games which had been coming thick and fast, and they came out of the other end of it with a lot to be happy about.”
“We won at the weekend against Wrexham, but it wasn’t our best performance,” he admitted. “We’re now challenging the second years to kick on and, without being too rude, I don’t want to see their ugly faces in my group.
“I want to see them with the first team on a day to day basis. At this stage last season I don’t think I saw Patrick Brough at all. He was with the first team all the time and we’ve told the second years we want more of the same for them. I want them to be better than us and to do what they can to be with the manager.”
“The game could easily have ended at 10-10, there were that many chances,” he said. “Tom Fowler was absolutely outstanding in goal. He was probably our best player on the day.
“We won it with a late goal, so the lads are pleased with the result, but they were told in no uncertain terms that the performance levels were nowhere near what we expect. The kids do get mixed up with this because they think winning a game is great. We have to remind them that it’s about what they’ve done to win the game that matters.
“It is obviously good that we’re creating chances but it’s also worrying that we are allowing so many at the other end. We have Arron Bradbury who is in a rich vein of scoring goals at the moment but he only seems to do it from the bench. We might have to start bringing him on after a minute or so just to keep this run going.
“Physically he has a lot of growing to do into his body but we’re being very patient with him. He has been an impact sub recently because he doesn’t really last the course if we start with him. He was out for a long time with a broken ankle but he knows where the back of the net is and he will be a two-year development process for us.
“The rest of the lads are showing us they’re taking what we’re saying about game management on board, and that is good to see. Once we got 2-1 up, with five minutes to go, we knew it was a case of seeing the game out.
“It’s a new concept for them but it’s one they have to get to grips with. Sometimes you have to slow things down and make sure you get the result you want. You can see some of them forget where they are when they get to the closing stages of the game because their natural instinct is to chase everything and go for it. They need to learn that isn’t always the case.
“As a general rule, if performances are good you’ll get a result. You’ll grind one out every now and then, when you haven’t been at your best, but the important thing for me is that we do things properly. If we find that consistency the results will come.”
United v White Star – Fowler, Hurley, Marshall, White, Robson, Douglas, Moyes, Taylor, Blackburn, Hammell, Elliott. Subs – Lightfoot, Pearson, Bradbury.
Goals – Bradbury (2), Marshall, Robson, Moyes.
United v Wrexham – Fowler, Hurley, Marshall, White, Robson, Douglas, Moyes, Taylor (Pearson 70), Blackburn (Bradbury 57), Hammell (Brown 75), Elliott. Subs – Mason, Rudd.
Goals – Bradbury, Hurley.
Next up – United v Port Vale, Saturday 29 November, kick off 12pm