EDS & Academy

Vicens: We'll stick to our principles for Under-18 National Final

Vicens: We'll stick to our principles for Under-18 National Final
Head coach Carlos Vicens says City will seek to play the game and not the occasion when we entertain Fulham in Saturday’s Premier League Under-18 National Final.

The Academy Stadium will play host to an eagerly awaited encounter between City's Under-18 Premier League North champions and the visitors from Craven Cottage who lifted the Southern crown last weekend.

City lifted the Northern title with a 1-0 win at Burnley last week, pipping Manchester United to the crown by one point after winning our last seven games.

Fulham meanwhile edged out Crystal Palace to top spot, courtesy of a last-day 3-0 triumph away at Chelsea.

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But though the kudos of being crowned national champions is the tantalising prize on offer, Vicens says there will be no change from the philosophy, principles and approach that has brought the City youngsters to this stage.

“It’s another game in terms of how we prepare and face it and how we play it won’t be any different,” the head coach asserted.

“It’s about playing the game and not the occasion – but it’s been the same for the last few games.

"Every time we have played over the past few months, we knew if we didn’t win the game our options to win the league were going to be gone.

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"Last Wednesday when we went to Burnley, United had finished their season so it was like a final for us as we needed to win.

“I think how we performed that day tells us a lot of about the team and how we have progressed.

"They knew the importance of the game but we never lost our emotions.

“We were patient when the goal didn’t arrive in the first half and early part of the second half and we kept our style and we got our reward.

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"We can use that game as a mental preparation for what is coming on Saturday.

"This time it is going to be both teams needing to win the game and I think that brings into the final something a bit different.

“But ultimately looking towards Saturday, it’s about trying to crown the season with winning a final.”

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Under the guidance of former Nottingham Forest and Portsmouth winger Steve Wigley, Fulham have established a fine reputation of their own at Under-18 level.

And Vicens is under no illusions about the scale of the task awaiting City.

But he says the key to a positive outcome will lie in sticking to the tried and trusted methods which have brought us so much success already this term.

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“Fulham have been doing very well for a long time. Last season they were in great form and gave us a tough round in the FA Youth Cup,” Vicens added.

“It was tight game, and they were doing very well in the league before lockdown.

“And this season they have demonstrated they are there to stay as one of the big contenders of the Under-18 Southern League.

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“They have been fantastic, scoring lots of goals and it’s going to be a tough final for sure.

“But our strengths are in our method and process.

“The players know it – there is no reason not to belief that the process will not take us to where we deserve.

“The players are 100 per confident in the way we do things so we will keep doing the same things we have been doing.”

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