Mark Robson knows West Ham United U23s can find even more between now and the end of the season following Monday’s 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Sonny Perkins, Thierry Nevers and Kamarai Swyer stuck at Rush Green Stadium in the London derby with Spurs to secure a second consecutive win for the Hammers.
The victory, combined with results elsewhere, mean the Irons are six-points behind Manchester City in top spot but hold two games in hand on the league leaders, meaning a fascinating end to the Premier League 2 Division 1 campaign is in the side’s hands.
While Robson took delight in the team collecting a vital three points, the lead coach knows the development side can give even more between now and the end of the season.
“We’re delighted with the win,” he said. “It’s two wins now on the bounce after the Brighton game after what was perhaps not the greatest run.
“I didn’t think we started the game overly well and it wasn’t until late in the first half that we started to get a real foothold. It was a very even game and I said to the boys at half-time they needed a bit more energy, and we certainly got that in the second half.
“I still think we could give even more but we’re pleased to come in with the three points.
“In terms of results and wins, it was good, but I’ve been saying to the lads that I want to see more quality from them. If they can up their level of performance then we will need that.
“We want them to get into the first team but, to do that, they need to produce at a level that’s better than what you’d get at U23s football. The performances are so important from a progression standpoint.”
Perkins superbly finished Harrison Ashby’s low cross just before half-time to give the Hammers the advantage, before Nevers headed home a free-kick from Emmanuel Longelo just after the interval.
Substitute Kamarai Swyer’s cool finish just moments after coming on ensured that Max Robson’s goal for Tottenham in added time was nothing more than a consolation.
Robson continued: “To score our second from a set-piece was really pleasing. It settled us a bit because we’re not quite firing as much as I’d like us to.
“There are moments where we are but we’re not finding the form we had a few months ago. But I know it’ll come back because I see the boys every day in training. It’ll come back and it’ll be great as we head into these last four league games.
“It was really good to see Harrison and Manny back. For Manny, it was his second game after Brighton, so he’s had two matches back. Harrison adds a lot to us as a player and he’s a top player. And that’s the standard that I want from everyone. I’m sure, with four games left in the league, we can hit the ground running for the end of the season.”
Monday’s match was the start of a busy run of fixtures for the U23s, who travel to play Blackburn Rovers on Friday before facing Leeds United in the Premier League Cup on Monday.
Robson added: “It’s a real busy run to end the season and I’ve got no doubt that we’ll be calling on every player in the squad in the coming weeks to lift their game.
“We need to stay focused around everything, and the lads need to come in each morning brightly and not have any excuses. We want to try and win every game between now and the end of the season and, if we do, we give ourselves a good chance of being successful.”