Dmitri Halajko was a contented Lead Coach of West Ham United U23s after his side won a seven-goal thriller at Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night.
The young Hammers moved up to second in the Premier League 2 Division 1 table with their eye-catching 4-3 victory at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium, secured via a dominant and controlled second half display following an opening period in which the teams traded six goals.
Armstrong Okoflex’s 49th minute penalty ultimately made the difference, after strikes from Pierre Ekwah and Dan Chesters, plus Marqes Muir’s own goal made it 3-3 at the break.
With four goals and three points under his belt, Halajko was thrilled both with the display and the result it generated.
“We’re really happy with the performance,” he said. “It’s a good performance and a really good result, so when you get both of those together it’s a really good day.
“The third thing we had was that there were loads of good individual performances too, so we ticked all the boxes tonight.
“Obviously there were a couple of the goals we conceded which we’re not overly happy with, but when you compensate that with some of the football we played and some of the goals we scored, it’s been a really good night for the lads.”
Halajko was especially pleased with the adjustment his team were able to make at the break to ensure their positive play going forward would not be compromised by any sloppiness at the other end.
“We came in at half time and said look, we’ve had some fantastic play, but it was a little too end-to-end and we felt if we could control the game we had enough quality to go on and win it,” he explained.
“Our main aim in the second half was to keep a clean sheet because we felt if we did that we’d win the game. I thought we dominated the second half and deserved the win.
“Our best spell was the first 20 minutes of the second half. We were really on top and camped in their final third, and it’s important when you have those spells and are the dominant team to make that count and score. We did that at the right time and from there gave a thoroughly professional display to see the game out.”
With the Hammers now second in the table, with only Manchester City ahead of them, Halajko is delighted to see their graft paying off.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work on the training pitch to get us to second in the league and I think we deserve it,” he added.
“The games that we haven’t performed particularly well in this season we’ve lost and we’ve deserved to lose and the games we’ve played well in we’ve won well and deserved those too.
“Last season, although some of the results weren’t going our way, we should have been winning some of them with the performances we gave. It was fine margins that we were slightly missing out on, but this season we’ve made those games count.”