Academy manager Alan Moore with reaction to the Accrington game
Academy manager Alan Moore gave us his thoughts on the Accrington game and on the weeks ahead for his U18 age group.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted against Accrington but it’s one we could have won,” he said. “We watched the full 90 minutes back on Monday and, to be honest, we gave the lads a ‘well done’ after the game.
“We’d given them one remit before kick off and that was to keep possession. The good thing was we dominated for most of the game and the lads did what we asked them to do. We didn’t get a finish in the final third but we kept the ball in every other area of the pitch.
“I’m not too disappointed that we didn’t win it because all of the instructions were adhered to. The team talk was all about what we were going to do, how we were going to keep it and where we were going to help each other out.
“Yes, there are bits we can pick at, and we weren’t happy about conceding a goal on the break away, but there are mistakes in all goals so we won’t be worrying about it too much.”
“Getting them to keep possession is something we want them to learn because it isn’t just about keeping the ball,” he added. “It’s about keeping it with purpose. It’s no coincidence that the longer we had the ball the more chances we created. Even when we went down to ten men for the last half hour we still dominated it.”
“We went up to Lennoxtown to play Celtic on Tuesday night and that’s a fantastic facility,” he said. “It’s very difficult to find, but it’s different class once you get there.
“It was a really good game and they got it down and shifted it round really well. All of our lads played well and some of them got some good match fitness in, which they haven’t had for a while.
“A game like that is a massive learning curve for everyone. The biggest thing for them was the pace it was played at. They kept it for fun and that’s something they have to get used to with the better teams they will face at U18 level.
“The instructions will be different for the group again this week because Bury are playing their first home game at Carrington. That’s a great facility, and they’re top of the league, so it will be a difficult test.
“Bury are flying at the moment and I think five of their players have been given professional contracts already. It’s going to be a nice pitch, with it being Man City’s old training ground, so we’ll go there to give them a good game and to compete.
“We then have the Youth Alliance Cup semi final against Wigan, next Tuesday, so we’ll switch our teams round for that and the Saturday fixture. We have to look forward to next season at this stage of the year, so we’ll use some of our U16s. We’re also looking to get some of our second years out on loan to give them a different type of experience.
“That means they won’t be involved in Saturday games between now and the end of the season. They’ll play for us in the cup games but, also with them, it’s about planning ahead. They need to be playing men’s football so we’re talking to clubs like Workington and Penrith, and others in the area. Some of the lads have actually been requested by local clubs so that means they’ve been doing something right.
“No decisions will be made on the second years until after the Cumberland Cup. The lads are all aware of that and we’ve spoken to them about why they’re going out on loan. It’s a different standard of football with a different type of pressure.
“They’ll be playing in games they have to win and it’ll be good for them to be somewhere where the men they are beside will let them know how they’re doing in no uncertain terms.”
United v Accrington – Eccles, Hurley, Marshall, White, Douglas, Robson, Moyes (Elliott 46), Taylor (Quigley 70), Hall, Hammell, Blackburn (Bradbury 70). Subs – Fowler, Rudd.
Bury v United, Saturday 14 March, kick off 11am
United v Wigan, Youth Alliance Cup third round, Tuesday 17 March, kick off 12.30pm