By Giuseppe Muro

Daniel Boateng says Reserve League success would make up for this season’s premature FA Youth Cup exit at the hands of Chelsea.

Despite their title push stuttering of late, Neil Banfield’s boys are four points clear of nearest rivals West Ham at the summit of the standings as they enter their final trio of fixtures.

Last-minute heartache at Stamford Bridge prematurely ended any Youth Cup ambitions in January and Boateng says that disappointment has given the squad an added incentive to come out on top in the League.

“We went out of the Youth Cup quite early and we haven’t had the best season at Under-18 level so to win the Reserve League would be great,” the central defender told “Personally, for the boys, that would be great and that’s what we’ve been working hard for.

“Everyone is eager to do well and Neil [Banfield] wants it as much as us. We’re not losers at Arsenal - we’re winners. We definitely want to win it.

“We want to give Neil something back because he has been a great manager for us. The way Steve Bould and Neil have brought us up [means] we aren’t losers.”

Luke Freeman’s injury-time winner against Liverpool last time out gave the Reserves their first victory in five games to keep Arsenal firmly in the hunt for the crown. Next up is a trip to Wigan and Boateng says the team go into that game full of belief after last week’s success at Underhill.
“It gave us a lot of confidence,” he said. “But, to be honest, we could have won most of those games [that we drew or lost].

“We were on top in most of those games but silly mistakes cost us. We’re up for it and we’re determined to win on Tuesday.”

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28 Mar 2011