Neil McDonald believes West Ham United's latest batch of talented young players could make an impact this season following their starring role in Saturday's 3-2 Marathonbet Cup win against Sampdoria.
17-year-old Reece Burke scored a late winner from an Elliot Lee cross, while Dan Potts' forward exploits helped secure the penalty that Mark Noble converted to bring the game back to one apiece. With the new Barclays Premier League season starting with Tottenham Hotspur's visit to the Boleyn Ground in just five days' time, McDonald believes the performances of the three Academy youngsters will not only have given them a lift, but the rest of the squad as well.
"We've always produced good young players at this Club," McDonald said. "We have a few good young players coming through and we'll blood them whenever we can and we've seen the three that made a big impact on the game on Saturday.
"The first half was terrific even though we only had 14 players to pick from. The young kids have been with us pre-season and it was nice for them to get involved in the second half.
"In the first half we tried a different system and it worked really well with lots of passing and lots of receiving it well and we did really well with the tempo. Our final ball wasn't the best but aside from the goal we conceded I thought the first half was excellent.
"Second half, we changed the system and grew into the game. We gave the ball away for the second goal, which we'll need to improve on. We pushed on and drove on and Mo Diame's goal was a fantastic individual goal. For the third Elliot Lee got in behind and he picked out Reece Burke, who had carried on his run.
"Elliot showed a lot of composure to pick him out and let him finish the game off and in the end I thought we thoroughly deserved to win the game."
Despite there being several first-team players missing through injury, Macca was delighted with how the team passed and pressed the ball. He also brought the welcome news that Aaron Cresswell's first-half withdrawal was only precautionary, meaning he could join the young trio in the matchday squad Spurs should they be selected.
"I think the manner in which we tried to play by passing and moving it, even in tight areas, was really good. The players have been working hard in training and that is coming through really well.
"We've got to believe in ourselves that we're decent on the ball and it's not just about free-kicks and corners. Our open play was excellent but we know we can always improve and the chances we had we took very, very well.
"Our first pre-season victory will give us loads of confidence and put everyone in a good mood for the first game against Spurs."