West Ham United U18’s coach Mark Phillips says he is quietly confident of a victory against Brighton & Hove Albion ahead of Saturday’s contest at the Little Heath Sports Ground.
A win over Saturday’s opponents will see the Hammers leapfrog Reading into 10th and move within one point of Brighton in the Premier League U18.
The Hammers’ coach is hoping for another positive showing following last week’s 2-1 win over Leicester City.
However, winning is a second priority for Phillips, who believes the players’ attitude and performance on and off pitch is more important for their devolvement.
We’ve won our last game and have a reasonably strong team, we’re quietly confident of getting the three points, but most importantly, we're hoping for a positive performance.
He told whufc.com: “We’ve had good training sessions this week and are in a positive frame of mind. We are in good shape.
“We’ve won our last game and have a reasonably strong team, we’re quietly confident of getting the three points, but most importantly, we're hoping for a positive performance.
“I’m more interested in the performance [than the Leicester game], it was a very good performance from the lads.
“Sometimes players play and win a game where they didn’t deserve to win. However I felt that our win was justified by our performance.”
He continued: “We never mention the word ‘winning’ to the players, we tell them to keep on installing the good habits in the team, keep working hard and staying focused on the job in hand.”
Phillips has revealed that Hammer’s centre back, Ajibola Alese, has returned from England duty and could be involved this weekend. The 17-year-old was called up to Steve Cooper’s side to feature in the Algarve Tournament.
Alese suffered a lengthy injury that has largely interrupted his campaign campaign this season but now the centre-back is back and ready to show what he can do for West Ham.
“It will be nice to have him back in the squad, he’s an important player who hasn’t played for us much this year. It’s a big bonus for us.”