EDS & Academy

'Humble' Under 18s won't lose focus, says Taylor

'Humble' Under 18s won't lose focus, says Taylor
City Under 18s manager Gareth Taylor says the squad’s 'humble' work ethic will ensure the players remain grounded as they target more success in the wake of our defence of the Premier League Under 18 Cup.

Having successfully retained the trophy we won last season with an emphatic 6-0 win over Stoke in Tuesday’s final, City are still in the hunt for more silverware, and currently lead the way in the Under 18 Premier League North.

Several of the squad have also featured in our route through to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals where we will tackle Blackburn Rovers.

But rather than being carried away, Taylor is adamant the group will stay true to the guiding principles of hard work and team ethics which have served them so well so far this term.

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“I'm just super proud of the players but we’ve been working with them for a while and I’m not overly surprised (at the Cup win),” Taylor reflected.

“I’m aware of their quality but they’re a humble group of lads to work with who want to carry on improving.

“We will be back training on Thursday preparing for Wolves on Saturday. They are a sensible and enjoyable group.

WATCH: City 6-0 Stoke: U18 PL Cup final highlights

“We had some good individuals, but it takes a team to win it. Everything we have done well is because the team has been at the core of things.

"We had some good individuals throughout this competition, but it takes a team to win it.

“Anything we’ve done well this season is because the team have been at the heart of it. Even the boys that weren’t fortunate, who missed out through injury in the final.

“Apart from Cole (Palmer) and Sammy (Robinson) on Tuesday, the squad were all first-year scholars with several Under-16s on the bench.

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"There’s also players like Ben Knight and Lewis Fiorini who played two games for us in this competition earlier in the season. Those lads have really contributed and the team ethic we’ve shown from the beginning has been great, really pleasing."

With a crucial final two months of the season remaining, the Under-18s manager also said the confidence of the manner of our PL Cup final win could be vital.

And he believes the memory of Tuesday’s victory will prove infectious.

WATCH: City 1-0 Burnley: FA Youth Cup highlights

"It’s a big statement," Taylor reflected following City’s comprehensive win over a physical and talented Stoke side.

"This has only been the third year of the competition.

“Chelsea won it in the first year and it’s as difficult to win as the FA Youth Cup - there are six games and I thought from the first ball kicked against Swansea in this year’s tournament we were excellent.

"Working our way through the rounds, we had a difficult group against Southampton and Liverpool and the performance in the final for me has been key.

“I remember against Middlesbrough in last year’s final, we didn’t play great, we got the result and on the night it’s obviously about the result.

“But I was proud of the performance on Tuesday because that was a tough game.

"Winning is great. We’re hungry to do more and make a statement. It’s a nice habit, winning trophies and hopefully there’s a couple more we can secure. But we’re not kidding ourselves... we know it’s going to be really tough.

“However, Tuesday will give us confidence as they realise they can do it.”

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