Nick Haycock paid tribute to a fine rearguard display as the Development Squad returned to winning ways in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League, courtesy of a stylish 2-0 success against West Bromwich Albion at Rush Green.
Haycock's side were unusually charitable in Monday's 3-2 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur, but there was no such generosity on show this time round, as West Ham United recorded a second clean sheet in only three Elite Group outings.
As well as keeping the Baggies at bay, the Hammers were equally impressive at the other end, as Elliot Lee and Wellington Paulista struck either side of the interval, just as they did at Spurs. The duo now have five between them in the Elite Group and Haycock heaped praise on his quickly maturing squad.
"I'm delighted with the lads," he told West Ham TV. "To come here, back to Rush Green, the surface didn't play too badly and the boys did what I asked. I said I wanted a high intensity performance, play the game in the opposition's half and to make sure that we got a clean sheet. I thought we gave a few loose goals away against Tottenham.
"I thought the back four were outstanding. I think Pelly Ruddock, who came to the club as a midfield player, dropped into centre back and with the experience of Jordan Spence alongside him, we looked assured at the back. As for Dan Potts, it was a great delivery for the goal and great character. He goes back into a game, having just had a period out with concussion. Terrific. But I wouldn't expect any less of him. Callum Driver, again, I think complemented him at right back.
"We had two under-17s playing in the game with Amos Nasha composed in midfield, and I think Kieran Bywater, again, has got great character and commitment up and down the right-hand side. There were some good performances right through the team."
Turning his attention to the goalscorers, Haycock was suitably impressed by Lee's contribution. The U21s coach explained that Lee has long been on his radar and insists that a healthy blend of dedication and ability gives the forward every chance of a bright future in the game.
"Two great goals, two good finishes by two good goalscorers," he added. "I think Elliot's showing another side to his game. We're playing him in a wider role, but he's got the licence to drift along that frontline and he looks a threat at the minute.
"He always has been [lethal in front of goal]. I remember Elliot being a nine-year-old at the club, I've been here seven years and he has been with me quite a long time. So I know what Elliot's about. I've got a good relationship with him and I think he's got a chance. If he keeps playing like that, he's going to catch the manager's eye.
"Being only an under-18, he has still got plenty of time and he's enjoying his football. The work he has been doing with the Sport Science team, he has done a lot of extra work in the gym and physically he looks a lot better at the moment. I think it's showing and he looks like a stronger player and obviously the goals will always come with Elliot, he's a finisher."