EDS & Academy

Taylor: U18s can improve on derby performance

INSTRUCTIONS: Gareth Taylor on the training ground.
Manchester City U18s' 4-1 win over Manchester United was a game in which the result was better than the performance.

That’s the verdict of with the derby victory, but feels there is room for improvement.

City were forced to fightback after conceding early against the Reds and the Academy boss was impressed with his side’s attitude, but felt they were careless in possession.

“Overall, I’m pleased and particularly pleased with the character we showed, but we can do better,” he said.

“4-1 makes it look comfortable but United had their spells and created opportunities.

“We created a lot of chances, too, but I thought the game was a little too open and I wasn’t impressed with our ball retention.

“Emotions are probably higher for the lads today and you can make allowances for nerves, but I work with them on a daily basis and I don’t think we were at the top of our game today.”

Taylor did find positives in individual performances and was pleased with the impact of two-goal hero Keke Simmonds, while at the other end of the pitch skipper, Eric Garcia, impressed in a game where City’s defence prevented the opposition from turning possession into clear-cut chances.

WATCH: Match highlights: City U18s v Stoke

“It was important to respond quickly,” added the former City striker.

“Goals change games. Keke’s equaliser changed the momentum a little bit but to be fair to United, they came at us in the second and period and we had to show resolve in and around our box.

“I thought there were good performances from Eric and Iker Pozo and I thought Curtis Anderson played with maturity in goal.

“I’m really pleased for Keke. I’ve challenge him to work harder and contribute more to games with goals and assists and he is putting up the numbers at the moment."

The comeback, which was witness by a bumper crowd, saw City eclipse the Reds and take top spot in the U18 Premier League.

That pressure, of the derby encounter and competing at the summit of the league, will only benefit the players, says Taylor and the 44-year-old has been impressed with how his young charges have responded to every challenge they’ve faced this season.

“No matter what people say, it’s not just another game when you play your rivals," he added.

“There was a decent crowd and I thought they handled it well.

“At the moment, we’re competing at the top of the league with United and Liverpool and that’s great for the lads.

“We want that for them, for there to be a crowd and there to be something on the game.

“It matters and we’ve tried to impress that on them this season and so far they’re handling things really well.”

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