EDS & Academy

Carlos Vicens: U18s won’t change approach for title decider

Carlos Vicens: U18s won’t change approach for title decider
Carlos Vicens says Manchester City Under-18s will not be treating our title decider against Burnley differently to any other league game.

The Academy outfit travel to Lancashire for the final match of the season on Wednesday afternoon knowing victory over the Clarets would see us crowned champions of the Under-18 Premier League North Division.

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It is a winner takes all scenario, with three points required to leapfrog Manchester United, whose campaign ended at the weekend, but Vicens is not placing an extra importance on the fixture and wants his players to approach it with their usual mindset.

“We are not going to treat the game any differently,” he said.

“If we did, I think it would be a mistake. For us it is another game against a tough opponent.

“We are not going to treat it like a cup final. It is a league game that we were supposed to play in December, we couldn’t and it was postponed until now.

“It is no different or important than our first game of the season against Wolves in September.

“We play for points and we need three points like we needed three points two months ago. Nothing is different in that respect.

“We have the opportunity to play knowing that we need to put in a good performance like any other game in the season.

“That is what we are aiming for.”

English U18 Premier League
1 Blackburn Rovers Rovers 10 7 2 1 29 11 18 23 LWDDW
2 Manchester City Man City 10 5 3 2 24 13 11 18 DWDWL
3 Liverpool Liverpool 10 5 1 4 30 22 8 16 WWLLW

For all Vicens is keen to avoid playing the occasion rather than the game, the Spaniard admit it is a privilege to be fighting for the title.

Regardless of the outcome, he is proud of his players efforts and, most importantly, their development across the course of the campaign.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for his young side, who went a month without a competitive fixture.

They have spent much of the season chasing United at the top of the league and the coach believes a final day triumph would see their efforts deservedly rewarded.

“It is a nice game to play in because as a footballer and as a coach these are the games you want to play in,” Vicens explained.

“I am pleased with the team, happy to be in this position and very proud of what I have seen so far.

“It has not been easy because we have been chasing all season, with games in hand because they were cancelled.

“It’s been a long campaign and we have gone through difficult moments. We have only had 10 or 11 at training at times.

“We went through the whole of January without a game, training hard in the rain and the cold weather, knowing every session counted even when there were no targets for the weekend.

“We insisted those sessions were important as they helped us move forward. All that will make sense if we can achieve it.”

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A quick glance at the form guide should certainly convince the players they have what it takes to get over the line.

City come into the game on an 11-match unbeaten run and have lost only once in the league this season, whilst Burnley were beaten 2-0 when the visited the City Football Academy last month.

Unsurprisingly, Vicens has faith in his players which has only been enhanced by what he has seen from them in the final week of the campaign.

“We have a positive mind,” he added.

“It’s an away game so it will be different and you need to be extra focused and take extra care of the detail.

“The players are very concentrated. They know they need to do their best to give themselves the best possible chance to win the game.

“They know that every time you do the right things and you work hard as a team you have more chances to get the three points.”

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