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YOUTH: Worked on starting games better

A catch-up with youth boss Mark Birch

18 August 2023

Club News

YOUTH: Worked on starting games better

A catch-up with youth boss Mark Birch

18 August 2023

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The Blues made it two wins from two as they put four past Walsall last weekend.

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FAN ZONE & CATERING: Exeter

17 August 2023

Youth boss Mark Birch gave us his reaction this week.

“It was one of those games where the lads were ruthless in the right areas of the pitch,” he said. “Not just scoring the goals, but they were same in their defending.

“We had to make a couple of defensive changes last minute because of illness, but the lads coped with it well.”

“We’ve worked on starting games better because in pre-season we found ourselves out of games within 15 or 20 minutes,” he added. “It comes down to starting well and putting the opposition under pressure.

“When you’ve got that sustained pressure you’ve got to make sure you capitalise on it, and we are at the minute.

“The start to the season we’ve had has surprised me a little bit, if I’m being honest. When you get new lads in, some from the academy and some from outside, you’re never quite sure how they’ll gel with the second years.

“You also aren’t sure how the second years will cope with being the leaders of the team and the go-to players. We made pre-season tough for a reason, we knew we had some tough games, but we did that to make sure they were prepared for the long league season.”

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MATCH DAY INFO: Tickets exeter

17 August 2023

On the confidence to be taken from the performances so far, he told us: “I think confidence is really high within the group and with certain players as well.

“There are players who we’ve really had to work on their game with for the past 12 months and I think the reward for us as coaches, and them as players, is they can see the end and start to understand what their game is all about.

“It’s pleasing as a team to win convincingly and we’ve had two really good results, but I’m more pleased for certain individuals in the team because they’ve had to work really hard at their game, and now they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

This weekend it’s the first of the Youth Alliance Cup group games, with a short trip down the road to face Morecambe.

“We’ve got a cup game coming up and since I’ve been in this job it’s a competition we’ve always felt we should do better in,” he commented.

“We’ve never got out of the group since I’ve been here, so we spoke as a team at the start of the season and getting out of the group is something we want to achieve this year.

“We’re in a tough group, Morecambe have started the league well, and when you go to teams like Huddersfield and Doncaster you know they’re well established clubs and it’s going to be difficult.

“We want the lads to have these challenges, we don’t want easy games, so they have to be at the top of their game all the time.”

United – Barry, Maddison (Hopper 70), Fitzpatrick, Walsh, Skinner (Nicholson 75), Allan, Chapman (O’Donoghue 70), Murray, Swinburn, Hetherington, Park.

Goals – Swinburn (6, 28, 80), Park (45)

Bookings - Walsh


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