Dmitri Halajko: U23s went about our jobs well

Dmitri Halajko

After West Ham United U23s scored four goals in consecutive matches tonight - the two away trips only five days apart - Lead Coach Dmitri Halajko spoke with pride in his side's display.

After Norwich U23s had the better of the early exchanges at Colney Training Centre, the Hammers took the lead when left-back Emmanuel Longelo produced a pinpoint cross for Anthony Scully to volley home from close range after 17 minutes.

That lead was doubled 19 minutes later when Dan Kemp picked up a loose ball inside the box and finished decisively, before tapping in a second two minutes before half-time to put the U23s on course for another win in Premier League 2 Division 2..

Norwich rallied to pull one back shortly after half-time through Gassan Ahadme, but substitute Amadou Diallo sealed the game with a quarter of an hour remaining with a cool finish from Bernardo Rosa’s excellent through-ball.

Halajko spoke afterwards about the challenge of following up his side's comprehensive 4-0 victory over Stoke on Monday evening.

“It was always going to be tough, two away games in quick succession,” he observed. “I thought tonight we were really professional.

"We went about our jobs well, played some lovely football at times – some really good passing football out from the back – and we deserved the win.

“Hard work has been the cornerstone of everything we try to do. We try to build from that. That needs to be our base, that needs to be our platform. To do it twice away from home on the back of long travels within five days demonstrates the commitment the lads show.”

We want to always try and take the initiative in the game, we want to always stamp our authority on it as early as we can.

Dmitri Halajko

Scully’s first-half goal was the tenth occasion on which the young Hammers have struck inside the opening 20 minutes of a match this season, and Halajko told that such purposeful starts are key to his side’s footballing philosophy.

“We thought we were a little bit slower than usual in the first fifteen minutes tonight, but then we managed to get going,” he observed.

“It’s something we pride ourselves on. We want to always try and take the initiative in the game, we want to always stamp our authority on it as early as we can.

“We don’t want to sit back and wait for teams – we want to get on the front foot and play our football as quick as we can. It’s something we believe in and it’s been going well at times this season.”

The return to Norwich will have had personal significance for Halajko, who lists the Canaries amongst his former clubs.

“It was nice!” he smiled afterwards. “I’ve still got some friends here, some people who work here, and some of the players that have now progressed onto the first-team. It’s always a friendly club and a great place to come and visit.”

West Ham United U23s next face a Wolfsburg ‘B side in the Premier League International Cup on Wednesday 30 October, before resuming Premier League 2 Division 2 duties – they remain top of the league by three points – against Swansea on Sunday 3 November.

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