Academy coach pays tribute to his young side following impressive run throughout 2014
Despite an initially testing start to their domestic campaign, the club’s under-18 side have flourished since the turn of the year having recorded nine wins from a possible eleven outings.
The latest of which came against their Manchester United counterparts last Saturday – their fourth consecutive victory – coach David Lee offered his thoughts on his side’s change in fortunes in recent months.
“During the first part of the season, a lot of things happened where we had to change one or two things at Christmas time,” he explained.
“Obviously you've seen the end product now where things are much better. The tenacity, tenaciousness and endeavour of the players in the first half of the season would have maybe collapsed and folded.
“But the conclusion is as we've seen against Manchester United, when things go against them, they roll their sleeves up and have a real good go and they’re capable of turning in both performances and picking up results.
“The side have been defending well, free scoring and playing entertaining football along the way which has maintained a great team spirit amongst the camp.”
He continued: “The players work with each other day in day out and they’re a great group to work with – when you’re seeing each other six days a week, you've got to get on.
“The good thing is everyone is contending for places, everyone wants to progress into development football and eventually first team football but you cannot do it as an individual.
“You have to do it as a group of players and when you do that with players, they pull each other through - it means something to want to work hard, perform well and work well. We don't it as individuals, we do it as a group of players.”
With his young side having found the back of the net on no less than 29 occasions since the New Year, Lee admitted his pride at the team’s ruthlessness in front of goal during the second half of the campaign.
“I have no problems with our players when they get into the final third because I know the abilities some of these players have got - we are always going to create and score goals at this football club,” he enthused.
“On the other side of it, the intensity side, you've got to work at that day in and day out but I know once we get that into the players we will create chances and we will score goals.
“In the last few games we've scored goals and we always look like we'll score goals which is very pleasing.”
With just four games remaining, the academy coach outlined his desire for the team to not rest on their laurels and to finish the season as strongly as possible.
“For the remaining games, from my perspective I hope to continue to develop the players as individuals and as a group.
“They're flying high with confidence, and every game we look at we think we can go and perform - if we perform to our maximum, I know we'll get results that way."
Watch highlights of David Lee and Tony Kelly's side's recent 3-2 victory over Manchester United by clicking on the video below.