Phillips delighted with Academy win

Under-18s coach Mark Phillips was thrilled with the Academy's performance in victory against Southampton
Under-18s coach Mark Phillips was delighted with both the performance and result after the Academy secured a 2-1 win over Swansea City at Little Heath on Saturday.
Swans striker Brandon Griffiths put the visitors ahead early in the game, before former Chelsea winger Danny Kemp fired the hosts level from the penalty spot after Idris Kanu was tripped in the box.
For the second week in a row, Jahmal Hector-Ingram struck the winner in the second half, securing a pleasing result for the Hammers youth coach.
“I was delighted with the first half and thought it was one of our best 45 minute performances of the season, even though we was behind for a little while,” admitted Phillips. “We passed the ball really well into midfield, through the midfield and into the final third but strangely, we weren’t creating as many opportunities as you’d expect from a performance like that.
“Swansea seemed to sit really deep in the first half and they allowed us to control possession and play our game in the midfield, whereas after a telling off at half time from their coach, they came out and pushed us back a bit more, which then opened up pockets in behind their defence that we could try to play into.
“In the second half, we had around four clear-cut opportunities to score where you’re wondering if it’s ever going to go in, but Jahmal popped up with the winning goal for the second week in a row and we are pleased with the three points and the performance.
Since the Academy opened 2016 with a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Reading, they have now secured three important 2-1 home victories over Aston Villa, Southampton and Swansea.
Phillips admitted that the Reading game was a bad day at the office and explained how they have turned their fortunes around in recent weeks.
“It was a bad day at the office where nothing went right for us,” continued Phillips. “That’s not me making an excuse for our performance because we didn’t play well and didn’t deserve to win that day.
“Steve [Potts] and I looked back at that game on DVD with the boys and analysed where we went wrong and worked on those areas ahead of the three home games.
“In hindsight, it might’ve been the wake up call that we needed, although we obviously didn’t intentionally lose that game. We’ve come out of it really well though and the boys worked hard to win the next three games 2-1.
“I’m proud with the way that the boys recovered mentally from that defeat and turned their fortunes round themselves, especially because the game that followed the Reading defeat was against Aston Villa who are a very tough and competitive team.
“I was really disappointed in our performance in the first half against Southampton the following week, but then equally delighted with out first half performance against Swansea.
“At the end of the day, it’s ups and downs that you get in Under-18 football and the boys will learn more from the game when they experience the highs and lows.”
Phillips and the Academy head south to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday morning as they end their regular season with another tough fixture, hoping that if they come away with the win and other teams drop points in their remaining games, the Hammers could still sneak into the top four play-off group in the end-of-season phase.
“It’s obviously still a possibility, but we need to make it four wins out of four games first because that will give us 37 points and after looking at the table, we’d need others to slip up to help us out,” he added.
“Chelsea are the team most likely of winning the league, whilst Reading already cannot be caught as they are already on 41 points and Fulham should pass our 37 point total with the games they’ve got left too.
“It looks like that fourth spot is still open though and we may need Villa or Arsenal to slip up in their remaining games, but more importantly, we need to concentrate on ending the season with three points at Brighton.
The match against the Seagulls kicks-off on Saturday 6 February at 11am, with live updates available through the club’s official channels.
Under-18s: Matrevics, Eggleton, Rice, Akinola, Borg, Carter (c), Lewis (Sylvestre), Diangana, Kanu, Kemp, Hector-Ingram. Subs not used: Henry, Hammam, Leonard, Coventry