Academy Manager Jim Cassell is delighted with the Under 18 team’s performance in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final.
The young Blues took the lead at Stamford Bridge through Danny Sturridge just after the break, but were pegged back when Kakuta’s header rattled in off the cross bar with 66 minutes on the clock. Both sides could have scored more goals in an entertaining game, and Jim thinks the second leg in just under two weeks’ time will be a great occasion that City can be confident of winning.
He says, “It was a great first leg, and yet another tie that’s not been won by the home side! We may have a slight advantage, out home fans are going to be vital and we have good support.
“I’m delighted with the performance, I could not have asked for any more. We just about weathered the storm, their goal came from a terrific corner that was almost undefendable and there could have been a lot more goals tonight. We knew this was going to be an attacking game and that’s just how it turned out.
“It’s now a one-off cup final on our pitch, and we have a great chance. Chelsea will think that as well, there is not much between the teams but overall I am delighted with the performance. The work rate was great, tactically we were spot-on and I’m really looking forward to two weeks’ time.”
As well as praising the team’s all-round efforts, Jim picked out goalkeeper Greg Hartley in particular, the stopper being at the heart of the coaching staff’s main selection dilemma for the match.
“We thought about it long and hard. Filip Mentel had a horrendous knee injury and has only played two games where he was not really tested since coming back. We’re trying to create competition for places, and you should only lose your place if your form dips, and Greg proved again that his form has not dipped at all. He deserves to be in the team on merit.”
The second leg is at the City of Manchester Stadium on Wednesday April 16th, kick off is at 7.45pm and entry will be free for Seasoncard holders and Live4City members. Admission for everyone else is £5 for adults and £1 for concessions.