Tottenham ‘will play better’ after FA Youth Cup defeat to Chelsea

Tottenham Hotspur U18s Dylan Duncan and Chelsea's Mason Mount battle for the ball. Picture: ADAM DAV

Tottenham Hotspur U18s Dylan Duncan and Chelsea's Mason Mount battle for the ball. Picture: ADAM DAVY/EMPICS SPORT - Credit: EMPICS Sport

John McDermott roared ‘we will play better’ after watching Tottenham U18s limp to a 2-1 FA Youth Cup semi-final first-leg defeat against Chelsea.

Tottenham Hotspur U18s Jack Roles and Chelsea's Dujon Sterling battle for the ball. Picture: ADAM DA

Tottenham Hotspur U18s Jack Roles and Chelsea's Dujon Sterling battle for the ball. Picture: ADAM DAVY/EMPICS SPORT - Credit: EMPICS Sport

The young Spurs side were second best for the majority of the game at White Hart Lane and were indebted to a number of excellent saves by goalkeeper Brandon Austin.

But Kaziah Sterling’s goal two minutes from time gives them a way back into the tie, with the second leg at Stamford Bridge this Saturday.

And McDermott was left with mixed emotions at the final whistle.

The head of player development told the club’s website: “It’s a stage where you want to play and as the home team you want to be more expansive than we were tonight.

Tottenham Hotspur U18s Nick Tsaroulla. Picture: ADAM DAVY/EMPICS SPORT

Tottenham Hotspur U18s Nick Tsaroulla. Picture: ADAM DAVY/EMPICS SPORT - Credit: EMPICS Sport


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“We were wasteful in possession too many times and credit to Chelsea, I thought they were strong and they showed their quality. “We’ve got to take credit that we stayed in the game. Brandon made some big saves and in the last 20 minutes it was a more even game but we’ve got to do better in possession and impose what we’re about rather than be reactive to the opponents.

“I don’t think we showed our best – our players are better than that performance, certainly in possession, but the fact that we’re still in the tie is credit to the strong mentality that this group has.

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“I feel pretty confident that we will play better than that at Stamford Bridge.”

Austin was the standout performer for the Lilywhites and McDermott says the work he does with the first-team is clearly paying off.

“Brandon exhibited there what he exhibits in training,” he said. “He’s an excellent shot-stopper. He works with Pau Lopez, with Michel Vorm and Hugo Lloris and he has that speed of reflex.

“What’s disappointing is that more players didn’t exhibit what they’ve shown in training and in previous games but with the fact that we’ve got another game on Saturday now, it’s a real opportunity to put right some of the things that weren’t good enough.”

Spurs edged the opening exchanges with Keanen Bennetts and Nick Tsaroulla to the fore down the left wing.

But once Chelsea got into their stride it was difficult for Tottenham to even get hold of the ball.

Eventually the pressure paid off with Reece James steering a looping header into the far corner of the net and they made it two shortly afterwards thanks to Ike Ugbo.

Austin’s heroics kept Tottenham in it with two full-length diving saves inside a minute the pick of the bunch.

Sterling’s goal, tucking home Jack Roles’ cross, paved a grandstand finish which saw Spurs come close to a surprise equaliser.

The hosts even managed to survive a missed Chelsea penalty, Luke McCormick hitting the post, and that will give them plenty of confidence going into Saturday’s game at the Bridge.

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