The Imps Under 18 manager, Tom Shaw, spoke of his delight at his team’s performance and victory over Wrexham at Sincil Bank in the second round of the FA Youth Cup on Saturday as attention turned to round three and the prospect of an away trip to face Manchester United.
City progressed to the third round courtesy of a 3-0 win over Wrexham, goals from Nathan Odokonyero, Ben Sault and Gianluca Bucci sealed the win and Tom said the victory was no more than the whole squad deserved.
“I’m really, really pleased with the outcome," he said.
“We were a bit nervy in the early part of the game. The way the draw is done in this competition, you know who you’re playing in the next round and obviously we’ve knew we’d got the opportunity of a really big occasion and the boys were a bit edgy which is understandable.”
Tom admitted that some of the squad were showing signs of nerves ahead of what was a first time out on the pitch at Sincil Bank but he was proud not only in the way the players handled the pressure, but how they grew into the occasion following the second goal.
“It was the first time that a lot of the lads have played at Sincil Bank so there were a few nerves and we tried to manage that the best we could. But they played their way through that, obviously scoring the goal massively help settled a few down and the second goal freed everyone up and I think we showed ourselves at our best for a good 15-20 minutes in the second half.
“[We were] Right on method and I think the lads showed their better attributes with the bit of pressure off, but it’s a great learning experience for them to come through that bit of a struggle in the first half. There was a bit of frustration as it wasn’t going the way we wanted, so it’s great for the young players to go through that and the big plus is we got a win at the end of it.”
He continued: “But it is all about winning in this competition, the development happens naturally because of the pressure, it’s about winning, we’ve got over the line and we’ve got a really good fixture to be prepared for in a couple of weeks.
After the Academy went through some tough times when the Football Club were out of the EFL pyramid, Tom says that taking on another top class club in round three of the competition for the second successive year in the FA Youth Cup is another reward for all the hard work put in behind the scenes.
“It’s brilliant for us as an academy to be in there. We did well to get to face West Brom last season, we were delighted with that but now I think we’re going to be playing against some of the best players in Europe in this age group which is great and we can’t wait to pit our wits against them. We’ll prepare for that but we’ve got plenty of fixtures in the way, it’s just a great occasion for everyone to get involved in and we’ll see what we can do up there.”