West Ham United U23s assistant manager Liam Manning was full of praise for the Hammers’ young professionals after they completed an outstanding October in Premier League 2 Division 1 with a thrilling 2-1 victory over Manchester City.
Goals from Nathan Holland and Toni Martinez and a determined defensive effort saw West Ham follow up victory over Manchester United and a draw at Chelsea with a deserved win.
After seeing his team rise to third in the table, Manning discussed Saturday’s success, the exciting football being played by the U23s and Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy tie at Bristol Rovers…
Our pressing paid off
I thought it was very exciting from the start, both teams attacked really well and there were loads of chances and if the score had been 4-4 at half-time, that would have been a fair reflection on the game.
It was a really exciting game and obviously we’re really delighted to come out with the 2-1 win and the three points.
We spoke before the game and said there was a big emphasis on getting after the ball and pressing them as we knew they’d play out from the back in a way similar to their first team, and the way Pep Guardiola plays.
We wanted to put pressure on them high up the pitch and we adjusted a couple of things at half-time, pushing Josh Pask further up the pitch and had our full-backs Rosaire Longelo and Ben Johnson (pictured, below) watching the wide lads slightly more closely and I think it worked in the second half. We regained the ball in the middle third quite a bit and set up a lot of attacks from there.
Our attackers carry a real threat
To give the players credit, we look a real threat going forward. It was similar at Chelsea last week, where we drew 0-0 and obviously didn’t score, but the number of chances we created was probably enough to win two games.
Domingos Quina was a lot sharper in what was his second game back from injury and our front lads carried a constant threat, as they have done all season.
Toni Martinez has got an absolute hammer of a right foot and it doesn’t surprise me that he scored another goal like that.
Nathan Trott (pictured, below) made numerous saves to keep us in the game and with his feet as well, his distribution was excellent and helped us play out from the back. He’s doing well at the minute.
An outstanding October
We looked at the Premier League 2 Division 1 fixtures for October and knew we had a really hard month, starting with Manchester United, then going to Chelsea and hosting Manchester City, so picking up seven points from those games was a real achievement from the boys and staff involved.
We’re really pleased with that because it’s a tough league and we’re moving up.
We’re ready for a different type of test
We were obviously delighted with Saturday’s win, but now our focus turns to Tuesday night and a Checkatrade Trophy tie against a senior League Two team in Bristol Rovers.
That’s what is brilliant about the games programme this season – we play against one of the best young teams in the country and now we’ll be playing against seasoned professionals who know all the little tricks needed to win them games.
It’s a completely different challenge and playing these games outside the international windows is a big difference from last season, which helps us massively.
Hopefully we’ll go to Bristol Rovers and get the win, because that’ll put us through to the next round.