EDS & Academy

Taylor: Let's make Cup Final a night to remember

DERBY DELIGHT: What a feeling!
Gareth Taylor wants Manchester City’s Under-18s to make it a night to remember as the young Blues gear up for Thursday’s U18 Premier League Cup final away at Middlesbrough (7pm).

Already through to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals as well, Taylor’s young charges have been in impressive form over the past few months and are unbeaten in all competitions since November.

Now, with the season’s first piece of silverware up for grabs, the Under-18s manager is urging his charges to maintain that fine form when they step out at the Riverside against a talented Boro outfit.

“It’s a great opportunity for the lads. They will be playing in a first team stadium and there is a trophy at the end of it which doesn’t come along very often,” said Taylor.

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“In many ways. there are parallels between this competition and the FA Youth Cup.

“People will see the Youth Cup as perhaps being the more prestigious trophy – it’s rather like the FA Cup and League Cup – but the Premier League Cup takes the same amount of games to win it.

“We’ve also had some really tough challenges along the way to get here. We had to beat Blackburn in our final group game by two goals to get through against a team which was in pole position at the time.

“Then we went to Stoke in the last eight and put on a really good performance away from home in winning 4-2 and then, of course, we had Manchester United the semi-final where we played ever so well to win 3-0.

“Now we know that we are up against a good Middlesbrough team who are in decent run of form and who beat Derby in their semi-final who, I believe, are one of the best teams in the league.

“The lads have embraced the tournament, and this is going to be one of the bigger games as there’s that bit more on it with a trophy there for the winner.

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 “So we are really looking forward to it. The lads relish competition where it matters and we’ve got a decent bit of momentum in terms of performances.”

With the Under-18s competing on two cup fronts as well as in the U18 Premier League, attrition has taken its toll with a number of injuries to key individuals along the way.

But Taylor says the youngsters’ success in both the PL and Youth Cups merely serves to illustrate the strong collective spirit running through the squad.

“Everyone has played their part to get us to this point,” the manager added.

“We’ve said that the team is going to change but that we’ve got to be together and supportive whether we’re playing or not involved.

“Things can change so quickly in football and having not played in a previous round you could be playing next time out.

“This season in this competition we’ve had under 15 s and under 16 involved and they have all done great.

“Now it’s just that final push and its all about how we perform on the night and our performance and if we get that right we have a chance of being successful.

“The players understand what it means to play for the Club and we just want to make the Club proud and to put on a performance and give ourselves the best possible chance.”

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