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U18s primed for Liverpool test

PREVIEW: Gareth Taylor.

PREVIEW: Gareth Taylor.

Gareth Taylor says it’s a case of play it again for Manchester City’s Under-18 squad ahead of Saturday’s return to Premier League action away at Liverpool (kick-off 11am).

City’s youngsters will travel up the M62 buoyed by an impressive 3-0 win over Leicester last weekend in our opening Premier League Cup group clash.

It promises to be a tough task on Merseyside against a Liverpool side which lies in second place in the league table having recorded five wins out of six.

But head coach Taylor says if the young Blues can replicate the attitude, desire and commitment that were the hallmarks of the victory over Leicester, it should make for a keen match-up.

Said Taylor: “Our form has been a little bit up and down so far, but I was really pleased with the performance against Leicester last weekend.

READ: Man City U18s 3-0 Leicester

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“I thought the lads were excellent in terms of attitude, the way they pressed, and built up from the back.

“Given that level of aptitude, attitude and performance - and I’m talking about the horrible stuff, the tackling the pressing, winning headers - if we had done that as consistently well as we had done in the Leicester game then we’d be a lot better off in terms of the results.

“But it’s all part of the learning. I really enjoy working with these young lads and you see the emotion of a day like last Saturday and they are really pleased with themselves.

“Now it’s about keeping them grounded as we have another big game coming up at Liverpool this weekend.

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“The good thing is we’ve made a positive start in the Under 18 Premier League Cup. We made a poor start last season and now we are looking forward to getting back to action in the league.”

With the first two months of the Under-18s campaign now behind us, the young Blues currently sit in fifth place in the Northern Under-18 table, having won two, drawn two and lost two from the first six games.

Reflecting on the opening block of the 2018/19 season, Taylor said that there were numerous positives for the Academy squad to draw upon.

“We’re asking more and more of the players every season but Jason (Academy director Jason Wilcox) and Simon (Head of elite development Simon Davies) have been great as they are looking at the bigger picture,” Gareth added.

“As much as we as coaches want to win, they have been fantastic in saying just think about the bigger picture.

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“And as long as these lads are getting these experiences, and sometimes having to sacrifice having to lose a game or two, that is the more important thing.

“It’s an ongoing process. It’s difficult as the guys above us in the EDS are quite young, and as a team we’re quite young.

“But if you look just last month it was brilliant to see Adrian Bernabe making his first team debut in the Carabao Cup win at Oxford.

“Then we had Phil Foden scoring a brilliant goal for the first team that night too – that is such a buzz for us in the Academy when those things happen.”

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