Mark Robson took heart from West Ham United U21s’ determination to secure the win in Monday’s 3-2 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Irons made is six wins from their last eight matches in Premier League 2 against the Seagulls at Rush Green Stadium, secured thanks to Kamarai Swyer’s sixth goal of the season and another double from Divin Mubama.
A goalless first-half was followed by Swyer’s opener early in the second; a smart finish on the turn inside the area, before Mubama netted with a cool, lifted effort following Regan Clayton’s superb through-ball.
Josh Duffus pulled a finish back from a one-on-one position but Mubama struck again, this time from the penalty spot, after Swyer was fouled inside the area.
Mark O’Mahony’s goal in added time meant a nervy conclusion at Rush Green Stadium, but the Hammers held on for another three points.
While lead coach Robson admitted Monday’s outing was far from the best from his young side, there were plenty of positives to take, as the development team get set for a busy week ahead of a quick return to action – against league leaders Manchester City on Friday…
We knew it was going to be a hard game.
Brighton & Hove Albion are a decent side and they made it hard for us. They certainly did in the first half. In the first half we were a bit too slow and didn’t move the ball quick enough.
We said to the boys at half-time about moving the ball quicker. We wanted to play simple, forward passes into feet rather than turning it back out. We did it a lot better in the second-half and we could have got a couple more.
They got a goal from our mistake.
They capitalised on our error but we went 3-1 up then. We’re then thinking we’re in a nice position but we conceded again, which was really disappointing, and then we were biting our nails for the end of the game.
But it’s another three points for us. It wasn’t our best performance, although we were better in the second half, but it’s a valuable three points and I’m pleased the boys dug in and worked hard for it.
I felt we didn’t have a real impetus in the first half.
I felt like we needed a change to get that out of the team so we brought on Armstrong [Okoflex] as another attacking player, with Keenan Appiah-Forson moving back into midfield. You can say it worked because we got a few goals from it and played better in the second half.
The win keeps our little run going.
We’ve won six of our last eight league games now, which is a good run. Although I would say that, while our results have improved and we’re winning games, some of the performances earlier in the second were probably our best and the results we wanted weren’t quite coming.
But the boys have stuck with it and kept their belief in how we play. This game, a bit like Arsenal, it wasn’t the greatest game for us, but we dug in. Against Arsenal, without playing well, we got a point, and against Brighton we’ve done okay and got three points.
We need to be even better than we are.
I don’t mind it too much when we’re not playing well but we’re still winning or drawing, but this team can play better. If we can find the form we had at different points of the season, just as the performance away to Chelsea, I’d be absolutely delighted.
Manchester City are a really good team.
They play some really lovely football, similar to the first team, and it’s going to be a tough one for us here on Friday.
We beat them here last year though, 1-0, in my first game back with the Club with the U21s. We were very good that day and I know the lads will embrace the game. We’re full of confidence at the moment and, while it’s a quick turnaround, we’ll make sure the boys are ready and attack the game.