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EDS in Spain: Day Six

City u18s showed no mercy in their first pre-season outing as they hammered Real Murcia 10-0 at the Pinatar Arena.

In 80 minutes of play the score reached double figures and England youth international Lukas Nmecha grabbed six as City’s youngsters ran riot on the sixth day of the tour.

Following Wednesday’s in-house game, this was a first chance for Jason Wilcox to have a look at his players against local opposition as he sharpens his plans ahead of the first league game on August 8.

As a nod to the early stages of preparations and the 31 degree heat at 7pm, there were four periods of 20 minutes to ensure plenty of time for rehydration, and rolling subs were very much utilised by both managers.

U18s TO FACE REAL MURCIA: Grimshaw, Duhaney, Murray, Kigbu, Blackshaw, Davenport, Diallo, Patching, Trialist, Nmecha, Buckley. #mcfc

— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) July 18, 2015

In truth, and as the scoreline suggests, City were dominant from the first whistle and Real Murcia struggled to get a kick against the slick passing and clever running of the boys in blue.

Will Patching was impressive throughout and was rewarded with the opening goal, timing his run to the edge of the box to perfection and the finish was unerring.

The second had a slight element of comedy as Lukas Nmecha was fouled in the area and the referee blew for a penalty without playing the (significant) advantage. No matter, Nmecha stepped up himself and calmly drilled home – but his effort right in the corner popped out of a hole in the sidenetting leaving half the crowd thinking he’d missed it.

Before the first 20 minutes were up Nmecha had his second, finishing at close range after being set up by Sadou Diallo, and after a trialist had made it four the striker got his hattrick right on the stroke of half time with his simplest finish of the lot, tapping home at the far post into an empty net.

City grabbed a sixth just minutes after the restart and the clinical Nmecha then treated the crowd to goals seven, eight and nine – adding a second hattrick to his own name in the process.

The last goal was possibly the best. Real Murcia, long since beaten were chasing their own tails and City shadows and were powerless to prevent a brilliant team move to bring up the tenth goal of the night – all scored by those wearing blue.

Wilcox professed himself delighted with the performance, although he admitted results are somewhat secondary at this stage of the summer.

He told mcfc.co.uk: “It’s pre-season and it is nice to start with a win but the most important thing is the manner of the performance and the lads’ work ethic. It’s our first competitive game and we’ve introduced lots of new concepts.

“There were bits today that we didn’t get right but there were an awful lot of positives and what really impressed me was the willingness to apply everything they have learned over the last ten days.”

He is clearly enjoying coaching his new group of scholars, and had plenty of praise for their standards off the pitch as well as on, adding: “Their behaviour and the way they conduct themselves off the pitch is first class and it has made me and the staff really proud. We’ve got a style on the pitch and off the pitch and we have shown examples of both.

“We are going to have ups and downs because they are young boys, but that’s why we’re here to coach them.

“They’re a group who are extremely bright, inquisitive and have a willingness to learn, and a great pleasure to have around.”

While the EDS don’t have a game until Tuesday, anyone thinking that means they had an easy ride would be severely mistaken. This is pre-season and hard work comes with the territory, especially today, which was the hardest session of the trip.

Every drill was at a high physical intensity – as one example, the players were paired off for a foot race at top speed to chase the ball and finish calmly at the end of it. And repeat. And repeat.

Just when they thought it was all over, CityTV had one last drill – the second of our challenges designed to test the boys in unexpected situations.

This time we borrowed striker David Faupala and gave him some goalkeeping gloves, then we asked him to save penalties from keeper Billy O’Brien. Both threw themselves into it with enthusiasm in their unfamiliar roles – although we did give them a chance to show off their talents in the regular positions too!

The results will be available on mcfc.co.uk in the future when you can find out who adapted the quicker to emerge on top.

I don’t thinks it’s a spoiler to say David has certainly settled in well and is already enjoying the tour banter – on and off camera…

Ahead of the tussle, it was already agreed that the loser would have to serve the winner that evening’s dinner, which is the comedy forfeit of choice for this trip.

Unfortunately for Thierry Ambrose, he landed his turn on the night of our barbecue at the training ground, which meant serving drinks to the entire staff table – much to his understandable dismay.

I am pleased to report that Sinan Bytyqi was only too happy to offer his support… by filming the entire episode and encouraging the staff to order additional drinks.

With friends like these, who needs enemies eh?

Meanwhile, don’t think I don’t make good on my promises. We told you there would be a video of Patrick Vieira schooling Analyst Aaron Briggs at two-touch, and never fear for it is here.

For anyone who missed it, it is well worth your time.

While you’re watching that, it’s time for an early night here in Spain – no Sunday lie-ins on pre-season you know…


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EDS in Spain: Day Four

Much of the breakfast chatter on day four of our trip concerned last night’s in house game – players and staff relishing a return to a game situation after the long summer off.