Attilio Lombardo has paid tribute to City u18s after they advanced to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup with a dominant 3-1 win over Sunderland.
Goals from Sinan Bytyqi, Jose Angel Pozo and Marcos Lopes punctuated a sizzling performance from the Blues on a Baltic night at Edgeley Park.
“It was a good performance and a good result, I thought we worked very hard, we were comfortable all game and we deserved the result,” was Lombardo’s verdict.
“We were playing against players the same age – in the league we’ve found it difficult to play against under 21 teams because we’re a young team but it’s important for their mentality to keep working hard at Carrington and to replicate what they do there on the pitch.
“It’s important for the club to finish 2012 against Fulham next week on a high – we know we have a young team and we must continue to work hard and show character.”
Head of Academy Mark Allen echoed the Italian’s sentiments, hinting that the performance was evidence that the academy’s policy of fielding players up an age-group was starting to pay dividends.
“We have great belief in these players and I think playing at their own age-group tonight proved comprehensively what good players they are,” Allen declared.
“The performance even more than the result spoke volumes in terms of where we’re going and it completely endorses the development plan of giving players a real challenge week-in week-out.
“You could clearly see what playing at the higher tempo of the under-21 league has done for these players – they were a level above Sunderland tonight.”
Elite Development Squad boss Lombardo had teamed up with regular under-18s manager Adam Sadler to lead the side and Allen was quick to praise the duo for a good season’s work so far.
“I’m delighted for Adam and Attilio because this year we’ve experimented with playing young boys at under-18 and under-21 level,” he said.
“It’s early doors, there’s a really long way to go but it was a great performance tonight both individually and collectively.”
We'll bring you news of who City will face in the next round as soon as we hear on mcfc.co.uk.