EDS & Academy

Davies targets ‘big performance’

Davies targets ‘big performance’
Simon Davies wants Manchester City to take the game to Barcelona when the two teams meet in the semi-final of the UEFA Youth League.

Our U19s boss has called for his side to attack with vigour at the Colovray Stadium in Nyon, Switzerland, where they will come up against products of La Masia, widely regarded as one of the world’s best youth academies.

As tests go, this is as tough as it gets.

Davies acknowledges as much, but equally has a wealth of talent at his own disposal.

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In Lukas Nmecha and Tom Dele-Bashiru he has two players with first-team experience and Daniel Grimshaw has saved some of his best performances for this competition, while Joel Latibeaudiere is no stranger to the big occasion, having won the U17 World Cup last summer.

So there's a confidence amongst the Blues and the manager expects his young charges to be aggressive with and without the ball.

“We won’t be altering our style,” he declared.

“We’ll make sure we press aggressively. More than ever we must get our press right. If we let them play or one person switches off in the press we can be hurt because of their quality.

“It’s easy to sit off and that’s what teams do to us, but that isn’t our way.

“I’m a true believer that we go all out for the win.

“We’ve got to be aggressive, with discipline and we’ve got to be together because the one time someone switches off they have the quality to hurt us, but we have that same quality.”


With the group stage of the Youth League having replicated the Champions League, this is a competition which has exposed players to the European demands faced by the first team.

It pits the best young players on the continent against each other and now, at the business end of the tournament, with no City side having reached this stage before, Davies admits he’s stressed the importance of not letting emotion take over.

“It’s a big week and there’s no getting away from the fact it’s a big game,” explained the Welshman.

“The semi-finals are somewhere we’ve not been before, so we’re all looking forward to it.

"There’s a collective excitement from everyone to enjoy the game, but also, we want to put on a big performance to show what this Academy is about.

“Of course, we have to keep their emotions in check.

“We’ve spoken about playing the badge. It has such a value in world football and Barcelona have earned that.

“We know they’re the standard and they’ve got a history in Europe over decades, so it’s a tall order but we’ve got some fantastic boys and a really good team spirit.”