Steve Lomas has praised his West Ham United reserve team for beating Blackpool at their own game.
The Tangerines threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Hammers at Bloomfield Road, regularly attacking with eight outfield players, only for Lomas' young side to hit them repeatedly on the counterattack to secure a fine 4-2 victory.
Blackpool included internationals Andy Reid and Sergei Kornilenko in their starting lineup, but goals from scholars Dylan Tombides and George Moncur and young professionals Freddie Sears and Cristian Montano proved too much for the home side.
The success put West Ham into second in the Barclays Premier Reserve League Southern Group and within striking distance of leaders Arsenal, pleasing manager Lomas.
"The lads were very good against a decent Blackpool team who had a few first-team squad members in their side. Everybody acquitted themselves very well, they scored four goals and it could really have been ten, to be fair.
"The way Blackpool play, they open the game out and we exploited them on the counter-attack. In the second half, we were a lot better and more secure as a team. Apart from a few little spells, I thought we were in total control of the game.
"It was important that George scored just before half-time. We were 1-0 up and cruising and then they got back with a fine strike and scored again to make it 2-1. If we'd come in 2-1 down at half-time, I'd have felt it was very unjust because they had three shots and scored two.
"We had five great chances so we'd have been down on our luck, so it was a great goal from George that capped a fantastic performance from him.
"I think in the first ten minutes we were trying to come to terms with the way they played with two very wide players and two strikers up through the middle - a bit like what Ian Holloway has done with the first team.
"Like the first team, though, they were susceptible to the counter-attack and conceding goals, so it was pleasing that we outgunned them at their own game and it could really have been a final score of 10-5.
"We stuck to our principles, tried to pass the ball and worked really hard on and off the ball."
Lomas has been delighted with the response of his squad to making early starts for the away matches at Sunderland and Blackpool - both of which saw them spend more than ten hours on the road.
"At the end of the day, it's not ideal preparation, but on the other hand it's good for the young boys. They realise that if they work hard they can earn the first-team preparation of going away the night before.
"This is good for them. It's good experience getting up early in the morning and going away to different clubs and doing the long distances.
"I see it as all part of their education. Sometimes, they get too much, too young but all credit to them because they have been fantastic in the away games since I took over."
With the Football League loan deadline on Thursday, Lomas knows a number of his young players will be on the radars of clubs looking for a late-season boost.
Although the Southern Group title is within West Ham's grasp, the former Hammers midfielder said the player's development was more important than any silverware.
"The main thing is for the lads to develop. Of course you want to win because it breeds good habits and that's what it's all about when you get into the first team.
"It's about players developing and we might have a few who go out on loan, which I'm very keen on. It does them good to see what League Two and League One are all about - Matt Fry has done that with Charlton - and if it's not this season, then next season they've got to go out and play first-team football.
"It's not easy down there because it's physically demanding. They have been coached to play open football but sometimes they'll have to learn the other side of the game by roughing it out for 60 or 70 minutes and then their technical ability comes to the fore.
"First and foremost it's about the player's development."