Simon Davies expressed his pride for the way Man City U23s came from behind to thrash Derby 4-1.
The Blues had trailed at the break, through Emil Jakobsen, but produced an excellent second half display to claim all three points at the Academy Stadium, thanks to Thierry Ambrose, Rodney Kongolo, Lukas Nmecha’s strikes plus a Calum Macdonald own-goal.
Davies revealed lengthy discussions had taken place at half-time, and the manager opted to make changes.
He reflected: “I don’t think the shape we started with was working against the way they set out.
“I have to look at myself for that – we weren’t at the races with the ugly bits. We were losing second balls and the general application wasn’t right.
“There has been a break with the Youth Cup after the internationals so we looked a little rusty. It was the first game some of them have played for a little while.
“We looked a little jaded and they came for the throat a little bit. We were lucky to go in at the 1-0 down with them hitting the post, but that meant we always stood a chance.
“We changed the shape and a couple of bodies at half-time. We spoke about needing to pass the ball better and quicker, fighting for one another more, moving them around and being more clinical.
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“They did that in bucketloads in the second half. They were fantastic so it was the ultimate game of two halves for different reasons.
“They came out and they had a real go.”
Davies believes the encounter provided a useful learning experience.
“We said after the game: well done for winning but you can’t go into games that lacklustre and expect to be in the games,” he stated.
“When you’re playing against top teams – who we have been fortunate to play against this year – and when you are not at the races all the time, you’re going to come unstuck.
“Away from the game, this club demands a high standard. Look at the first-team and the players we have. If they want to get a spot, they have to be at their maximum in every game and every training session.
“If these players get it, time will tell but at least they’ll have given it their everything to get there.”
The triumph lifted City to within two points of league leaders Everton with two matches to play.
Davies added his side are well worthy of challenging for honours.
“The lads have been fantastic this season,” he beamed, “and they deserve to still be fighting for something at this stage. It’s wonderful.
“At U23 stage, results come with development. We are still trying to do the right thing, developing players.
“A lot of them will go on loan next season so you can’t just turn around when you want to win or not.
“They have to practice the winning part as well as the development side.”
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