Saturday 06 Nov
Updated Saturday 06 Nov 22:50
Academy

Dmitri Halajko: We were clinical and professional against Liverpool

Dmitri Halajko

U23s Lead coach Dmitri Halajko praised the professionalism of his side as they ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against Liverpool U23s at Rush Green Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The victory, coupled with results going their way, saw the West Ham United U23s move up to second in the Premier League 2 Division 1 table, just a point behind leaders Arsenal U23s.

A quickfire double from forward duo Sonny Perkins and Thierry Nevers put the Hammers well in control inside the first 20 minutes, and Perkins was able to extend the advantage after the break with a second well-taken effort.

Halajko was particularly pleased with how his team bounced back following the disappointment of the last-minute defeat against Leicester just five days ago.

“We were disappointed on Monday that we didn’t hold onto what we felt we should have done,” he said. “So, today I thought it was a real clinical, professional performance and I never felt like the result was ever in doubt. We dominated the game, there were times where perhaps we weren’t at our best playing football, but I never thought the result was under threat.

I thought we were the dominant team and to beat Liverpool 3-0 is a great result at any level.”

Sometimes you forget that Sonny Perkins is only a Youth Team player. He could play the age-group below if we wanted him to, but to get two goals at this level against a team like Liverpool as a Youth Team player is some achievement.

Dmitri Halajko

It was another excellent afternoon for 17-year-old striker Sonny Perkins who caught the eye once more in east London, adding his third and fourth of the campaign in good style.

“Sometimes you forget that Sonny Perkins is only a Youth Team player,” Halajko continued. “He could play the age-group below if we wanted him to, but to get two goals at this level against a team like Liverpool as a Youth Team player is some achievement.

He goes off now on international duty with England, which is fully deserved and I’m sure that he will impress there as well.”

The Irons other goal came in rather fortuitous fashion, with Nevers stinging effort taking a wicked deflection past the Pitaluga in the Liverpool goal. The summer recruit, however, was good value for his goal, working tirelessly throughout to press the Red backline.

“Thierry’s goalscoring record is really up there for us in terms of his minutes on the pitch,” Halajko said. “He scores at a really high percentage, so we want to keep him on the pitch a little bit more because he’s had a few little injury problems but when we’ve got him out there, he’s managed to score some goals.”

West Ham United goalkeeper Krisztian Hegyi enjoyed a largely quiet afternoon, but the Hungarian produced a moment of magic to deny Elijah Dixon-Bonner with a sprawling save at 1-0.

“That was a big moment from Krisztian (Hegyi)” Halajko smiled. “He’s stood up in some big moment for us already this season. At half-time we spoke about the most important thing in the second half being the clean sheet, it’s something we really wanted to put right after the other night, and I thought that we deserved it. 

We needed our goalkeeper every now and again to help us out but that’s what he is there for.”

I think that’s one of the fantastic things about this Club and David Moyes himself, he watches every game at home, and for the away games Kevin Nolan will be there. So, we’ll always have a First Team presence at every game.

Dmitri Halajko

First Team Manager David Moyes was one of several staff members watching on from the stands and Halajko took the time to praise the manager’s commitment to The Academy.

“I think that’s one of the fantastic things about this Club and David Moyes himself, he watches every game at home, and for the away games Kevin Nolan will be there. So, we’ll always have a First Team presence at every game, and I don’t think – as far as I know – that there is another Club that does that. 

It’s so joined-up that the First Team manager is watching or his coaching staff and that only gives the lads more belief in the pathway that we have here. The lads know, if they work hard and show them what they can do then the opportunities will come and that’s invaluable.”

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