EDS & Academy

Wilkinson pleased by manner of Under-18s victory over Sunderland

Manchester City’s Under-18s boss Ben Wilkinson was pleased with the desire shown by his players to hold on for all three points against Sunderland.

Goals from Dire Mebude and Will Dickson were enough to earn City the victory, but an impressive solo effort from Ben Middlemas just before the break set up a cagey second 45.

Both sides were reduced to ten men after the restart following an off-the-ball altercation, but our young blues held out to move up to second in the Under-18 Premier League North table.

And while Wilkinson feels our performance against Sunderland didn’t quite hit our usual high standards, he was proud of the manner in which we saw out the result.


“The last 20 minutes of the game, there were opportunities at both ends, and I think we defended the box well,” he reflected.

“The appetite to defend and run and compete in that last 15-20 minutes after the sending off was there, and the fact we hung on and won the game is pleasing.

“It wasn’t the best performance but if you’re down and disappointed after a win, it’s not a bad place to be.

“We have to always look for the positives, we were a threat, we created chances scored two good goals and created plenty more opportunities.


“We always look like we can create chances around the attacking third but just lacked that control and sustained pressure that we look for from one of our trademark performances.”

As well as being delighted with some of the attacking play on show against Sunderland, Wilkinson also highlighted City's willingness to pick up play in dangerous areas all over the pitch as a major positive.

It’s a quality which he believes our young blues deserve huge credit for and one that he hopes will keep aiding their development moving forward.

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He said: “The boys deserve great praise for the courage they show with the ball.

“It’s something that the ones that have been here since they’ve been really young have taught now for eight nine years into that their journey.

“They’re comfortable doing it, we ask them to do it, if they make mistakes doing that there’s no blame attached.


“It’s the way we want to play and if they want to step up and play in our first team then they have to be able to play like that.

“It’s important we replicate that style as much as we can and they show really good composure on the ball, they’re bright, take risks, show courage.

“We almost take it as a given but they do deserve credit for the way they approach that side of the game.”

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