Westley - It's a big achievement

Terry Westley was delighted to see his side progress through to the semi-finals
Reflecting on the Development Squad’s progression through to the semi-final of the U21 Premier League Cup, Terry Westley said his players and staff had every right to be proud of their achievement.

The young Hammers secured their passage into the last four after beating Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at Rush Green on Wednesday 27 January.

In front of a packed Rush Green Stadium, Westley’s charges started the game brightly and were rewarded in the shape of goals from Djair Parfitt-Williams and Reece Oxford.

Speaking after the win, a delighted Westley said: “Tonight we should be celebrating and be happy, the players in the dressing room are certainly happy. We’re through to the semi-final of the U21 Premier League Cup so that’s a big achievement for everyone.

“I’m pleased for all the staff, both players and backroom staff, that have been here for a long time as well as the new staff who have come in, done well and everyone has really gelled together.”

Another bonus for everyone connected to the Academy was the fact that the win over the Lancashire club extended the Hammers’ unbeaten run to ten matches.

Even more impressively, nine of those ten games have been victories.

Westley continued: “It’s a great run, really good for confidence. When we went 2-0 up I think some of us thought it was a done deal, and it wasn’t. We let a goal in just before half-time, which gave the opposition a bit of belief, when they weren’t really in it.

“The real emphasis at half-time was to say, let’s really manage this game, this is a game we want to win, we won’t get a second chance, and to be fair to the players, we really did that second half.

“The crowd tonight were excellent, we had almost a 1000 people in tonight, and it’s going up. To be fair to everyone working behind the scenes, everyone really is pulling in the same direction. And now people are talking about our players, we’re 10 games unbeaten, we’re in a semi-final, we’re heading in the right direction.

“If we’re lucky enough to get a home tie in the semi-final I’m sure we’ll get an even bigger crowd.”
Westley continued to stress that while the match may have lacked its usual flow of possession based football, at this stage of the tournament, the win was the all important factor.  

“It was a totally different game to what we are used to, it was very direct, headers and second ball possession. We can’t dictate what the opposition are going to do, not every team is like an Arsenal where they move it around nicely. Tonight it was a different type of game, and we handled that well in the end.

“In patches we got it down, not as much as I’d have liked, but I’m not going to be disappointed when we’ve just won a quarter-final.”