Potts proud of winning start

Under-18s manager Steve Potts was brimming with pride after West Ham United's 1-0 Barclays U18 Premier League Tier One Stage victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Little Heath on Saturday.

A competitive first half saw Potts' men having to endure extensive periods of Tottenham possession, but a solid and stable Hammers back line cut short any of Spurs' attacking moves, giving West Ham the chance to grab the only goal of the game.

Central midfielder Ben Marlow finished an impressive attacking move just one minute into the second half and Potts acknowledged the goal as the turning point in his team's performance.

"It was a very tight game as the scoreline indicated," said Potts. "The start of the game wasn't too bad. I felt that Tottenham dictated quite a bit of the first half after that. They had good possession without really cutting us open and hurting us.

"Second half, we came out really strong, got ourselves a goal straight away and I think we settled down after that, both with and without the ball. We made it more difficult for Tottenham and we showed more composure with the ball and started moving it around quite well."

Potts expressed his pride at the hard work he saw from his young Hammers team, knowing that everyone had worked together to earn the three points.

"It was one of those games where they all did their jobs," he continued. "It was a very good team effort and I couldn't fault anyone out there today."

"They really did work as hard as they possibly could and worked hard for each other, that's for sure. Without doing that I don't think we would have got a result."

West Ham's goal came just after the break, when Thomas Gogo set up Marlow to finish from 15 yards out. Potts was delighted at the way his side used the ball wisely to create the opening.

"We were looking for a bit more composure on the ball and I think we shifted the ball around quite well. We had the ball on the left, then bought it into the middle and out to the right.

"Our right full-back [Josh Siafa] then put the right winger in [Gogo], who crossed it and one of our centre midfield players has put the ball in the back of the net. There were four people in the box at the time so it was quite a well worked move."

The win over Tottenham was Potts' debut match since his promotion from Under-16s manager, knowing that his new squad should be looking to push on towards the West Ham first team.

"I'd say that from an age point of view, they are that little bit closer to the first team. I think that would be the big difference [between them and the Under-16s].

"Through all the ages at West Ham, there are bits of quality there amongst the groups, but because they are that little bit older, you are looking to think 'Well go on then, can you push on and get closer to that first team?'"

Next up for the Under-18s is a trip to face Stoke City before another meeting with Tottenham for the FA Youth Cup fourth round at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday 22 January. Potts admitted he hasn't had time to look past this weekend's match, but knows his side must prepare themselves for the challenge that lies ahead.

"To be honest I've only thought about our opening match so far. I haven't really thought about anything else so far. I've had a week's training with the boys last week and they have gone out there and I couldn't have asked for any more from them today.

"They have run themselves into the ground and as long as they show that sort of attitude, they won't have a problem at all.

"They've got the deal with the occasion. They are going to be playing at Upton Park and I would've thought there will be a fair crowd there. As it proved on Saturday, there wasn't much in the game. It will be whoever performs better on the night, I think."

Under-18s: Rosique, Siafa, Page (Homans), Marlow, Harney, Girdlestone, Gogo, Cullen, T.Tombides (Martins), Makasi, Boakye-Yiadom (Pike)