City u15s returned to the UK on Tuesday after their third place finish in the Canon Lion City Cup and the players will now enjoy a well-deserved four week break.
Academy coach Darren Bowman revealed his pride at the team’s exploits in Singapore but warned that there is plenty of work to do if they want to match the levels of conquerors’ Ajax.
“We expected to get to the final so there’s definitely work to be done but in terms of the team’s performance on and off the pitch, we definitely achieved our expectations.”
City were able to sign off on the tournament with a win against Vasco da Gama in a match that was a valuable test of resolve after their defeat two days before.
“It was really important to finish with a win when you go to a tournament like that it’s long way home if you’ve lost and I think the boys showed great determination, character and the quality to finish third, so that was really pleasing.”
Taking results out of the equation, the most important part of the trip was to develop this group of players as professionals and as individuals - in that respect, Bowman believes that the trip was a complete success.
“It’s always good to get out of your comfort zone and go to a different climate, a different culture and play against different opposition - obviously the challenge is to see if what we do in the academy can be replicated in that environment.”
“I think we did extremely well with attention to detail and with the rotation of the squad and I also think that the challenge of trying to get to the level that Ajax are at in the coming season is an important target.”
City were two goals up at half-time in the semi-final against Ajax before shipping four second-half goals to go out of the competition and Bowman admitted his disappointment that the Blues didn’t finish the job on the Dutch giants.
“Every tournament we go into, we expect to win and I think with the way that the tournament unfolded, being 2-0 up and 40 minutes away from the final, we have to be disappointed.
“I watched all the teams and Ajax had that bit more quality than the rest, they had two or three players who stood out and I think that if we’d have beaten them, we would have gone on to win the tournament, so you can say that they were worthy winners.”
City u15s return to training on Wednesday 8 August.