West Ham United U18s coach Mark Phillips admits his side’s 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur is a ‘special victory’.
The Hammers headed into Wednesday’s contest at Little Heath on the back of three straight wins, with a finish from Odysseas Spyridis and a Korrey Henry penalty securing another three points for the Hammers.
Having seen his team beat Norwich City, Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester City in the past few weeks, Phillips couldn’t contain his delight at beating a fellow London team in Tottenham.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Phillips told whufc.com. “Tottenham probably feel a bit aggrieved that we won the game. At times, we rode our luck but there have been games this year that I think we should have won the game but we didn’t, and today it went our way.
Not just for me but for the Club, it's a good victory against Tottenham.
“I will say it’s always a special victory when it’s against Tottenham. Not just for me personally but for the Club, it’s a good victory against Tottenham. And it is nice as a Club to get a winning run together and climb the table a little bit.”
West Ham’s two goals came in the space of 20 minutes in the second period, with Spyridis netting his fourth in three games with a curling effort on 55 minutes, before Henry converted from the spot on 74.
Phillips believes his side were a bit too defensive in the opening half of the contest but was thrilled with the team’s performance in the second.
He continued: “We played Tottenham in pre-season and they gave us a bit of a beating, and then beat us in the league 3-1. We were a little bit tentative and a bit defensive minded. We defended very well – they never really created any chances first half – but our use of the ball was poor if I’m honest.
“We didn’t use the ball very well and that’s what we said at half-time. We had to retain possession right, get in behind and hurt them. I thought the first 15 minutes of the second half, we were excellent. It was exactly what we asked them to do.”
The U18s’ boost in form comes following a switch in tactical approach, with the Hammers now operating with a three-man defence.
Phillips has been delighted with how his side have adapted to the formation and believes it suits his available players.
“The important part of it really is the personnel, having three centre-backs and the two wing-backs, but wing-back is a really hard position to play. We have got two natural wing-backs in our U18s group, and the three centre-backs have coped with it well. We were nice and solid today.”