Manchester City U18s boss Lee Carsley knows his team will have to be at their best if they are to beat Chelsea over two legs and lift the FA Youth Cup.
Carsley’s youngsters guaranteed their spot in the final with a 9-2 aggregate victory over Stoke City, including a 6-0 win at the Academy Stadium and Monday night’s 3-2 at Stoke thanks to a Lukas Nmecha hat-trick.
The U18s boss is delighted his players are achieving the goals they set out for themselves at the start of the season but he’s called on them to go even further.
He said: “The players set the target in pre-season of reaching the final but we want to go to the next stage, the most important one, and win it.
“We’re going to need to be at our best to beat Chelsea because they’re a really good team and they’ve had a really good season like we have. Over the two games, the most organised team will win it.”
View highlights of the first leg of the semi-final below...
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Having won the first leg by such a convincing score, City may have been forgiven for finding motivation a problem at the bet365 Stadium but Carsley has praised his side for their fast start and professional performance.
“Scoring so early deflated us to be honest. I don’t think they expected to score that early and I thought we got a little sloppy after and started taking too many touches and becoming predictable. Having said that, the goals Lukas scored and Phil’s positioning throughout were very good,” said Carsley.
“I’d describe tonight’s performance as efficient. If they would have scored four, we would have scored five. Jason Wilcox made a good point that he thought we were playing in third gear and I’d agree with that.
“There’s a lot more to come for us but it was a weird situation to be in. We wanted to look at Chelsea but we had to get this game out of the way in a professional manner.”
Nmecha’s hat-trick was his second of the tie and took him to 10 goals from six matches in the tournament. Carsley is impressed.
He said: “Lukas is in a very good position at the minute. He needs to keep improving and pushing himself because if can build on six goals in two games he is going to be lethal.
“There’s a lot more to come from Lukas and with a little bit more belief in himself he has got a chance of having a decent career.”
Details, dates and times for the FA Youth Cup final with Chelsea to be confirmed in due course.