Liam Manning believes West Ham United U23s’ 3-0 win over Manchester United U23s was a deserved reward for the team’s hard work over the festive period.
Second half goals from Grady Diangana, Toni Martinez and Martin Samuelsen secured a dominant victory for the Hammers away at the Red Devils, returning the Irons to winning ways at the start of 2018.
It’s been over a month since West Ham U23s have played a competitive game, due to postponements to matches against Everton and Tottenham, but Manning is delighted with how the team have trained during the extended period without a match.
And the Academy coach reckons that the commitment on the training field deserved a win such as the one against Manchester United, hailing both the performance as well as the result.
“The last time we actually played was December 5 when we played Luton,” Manning told whufc.com. “Everton and Tottenham were both called off. It’s a bit bitty because you’re preparing for games and then they are cancelled. It becomes slightly disjointed but it also allows us to really push them on the training pitch.
“I’ll give the boys credit. They were at it all over Christmas and their work rate during that period was fantastic. They got the rewards of that tonight.
The boys were at it all over Christmas and their work rate was fantastic. They got the rewards of that tonight.
“We’re really pleased with the performance as much as the result. The first half, at 11 vs 11, we dominated the game. The possession statistics show we had loads of the ball and then in the second half, the red card plays a little part, but we were still on top and I think we started the second half well.
“Overall, we are really delighted with the performance, and the result as well.”
The U23s lined up with five players in the starting XI that were included in the first team matchday squad over the weekend in the FA Cup, while Diangana had also travelled with David Moyes’s side.
Manning was happy with how these players held themselves upon their return to the U23s.
He continued: “Sunday was a great experience for those boys, being around the manager and going to Shrewsbury. Then the big challenge tonight was for them to come and deliver, and that is what we expect of them. It was great for them, and then around that we had four schoolboys start tonight,”
Having gone four games without scoring and five games without a win, Manning sees Monday’s result as a massive and timely boost for the side, heading into a match with second place Leicester City on Friday.
“This game is a huge confidence boost in terms of performance and certain individuals. All of the players can take huge positives from tonight. We’ll go back in and hopefully we can go and get another good result on Friday.”