Dmitri Halajko: West Ham United U23s’ cutting edge ‘outstanding’

Dmitri Halajko and Steve Potts

West Ham United U23s’ forwards put in top-class performances in their 4-0 win over Aston Villa U23s on Friday evening, according to Lead Coach Dmitri Halajko.

After the visitors threatened several times early on, the junior Hammers took the lead after 25 minutes, a sweeping counter-attack leading to Bernardo Rosa finding goalscorer Nathan Holland at the far post with an accurate cross.

Thirteen minutes later, that advantage was doubled when Alfie Lewis hit a clean half-volley from inside the area into the top corner via the crossbar. The game was settled as a contest with a quickfire double early in the second period; the first a deflected Dan Kemp effort, the second a tap-in for leading scorer Anthony Scully. 

With their latest resounding the victory, West Ham U23s were able to celebrate scoring four goals for the sixth consecutive league game, and Halajko hailed his forwards as the difference-makers tonight.

“They probably started better than us, had a few chances and they could have gone ahead. Then we showed our quality,” Halajko said.

“We had some real fine quality going forward tonight. I thought all our goals today were really top-class. 

“That front six really showed their class today and that was probably the difference – our cutting edge going forward was outstanding today.”

Losing players to go and play international football is a real positive, because we want the individual development that gives them

Dmitri Halajko

After suffering a difficult late defeat to Exeter City last week – a result which saw the Hammers bow out of this season’s Trophy – the Hammers’ strong performance was certainly in keeping with the fine form which has seen them go unbeaten in Premier League 2 Division 2 thus far.

“We don’t ever want to have two bad performances in a row,” Halajko observed. 

“Bad performances and bad results will come along every so often, but what we want to show is resilience and character whenever that happens and get back to what we’re all about, and I thought we managed that today.”

Following the conclusion of the international break, the U23s welcomed a number of players back into their starting line-up on Friday evening.

Halajko was pleased to see them return and put in such solid performances but stressed that the Club is proud of their international endeavours, as the end goal remains their development.

“It was good to have a few people back from international duty,” he said. “We want them to go away on international duty.

“We’re a victim of our own success from that point of view. Losing players to go and play international football is a real positive, because we want the individual development that gives them, so we encourage it. 

“They’ve gone away, done their thing, and it was really nice to have them back around. They came back into the building around Thursday, so they haven’t had much time to settle back in, but it’s been great to have them back in the squad and playing well.”

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