‘We took a risk and it paid off for us’

We put ourselves in pole position for the U-18 Premier League title on Tuesday as we defeated second-placed Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 at London Colney.

Trailing by two goals in the 59th minute, Ken Gillard looked to his bench and introduced Xavier Amaechi and Bukayo Saka, who helped to kickstart our comeback. The latter was particularly influential, scoring one and assisting our equaliser. 

We spoke to Gillard after the final whistle - and this is what he said: 

on bouncing back from two goals down to win…
It was an exciting game. I’m really pleased overall, but I’m disappointed with the start of the game. We let them have too much time on the ball and they were first to every ball. It was disappointing and they deservedly went ahead. For the second goal, the penalty, I wasn’t sure about it, but the big talking point is the sending off. I haven’t seen anything yet. Some of the staff have seen the footage and thought it was a deserved sending off, but I haven’t seen it so I can’t make a judgement on that. It obviously made a big impact on the game, though.

on what he told the team at half-time…
At half-time we told them to just remain patient because it’s going to be a totally different game. We knew their shape would change and that would mean we’d have a lot more of the ball. We knew we had a strong bench so it was just a case of timing when we wanted to bring them on and where we put them on. We took a risk but it was worth it and it paid off.

on staying focused until the last minute…
These lads have got a really good belief and you could see that at the end in all the players. Not just the players who have played, but the players who have been injured too, so they’ve got a real strong belief in themselves and they’ve been exceptional over the whole season, but particularly over the last four months. We knew that if we got one then we’d have a great chance of winning the game. We spoke at half-time and said the first goal was very important. That ended up to be the case. 

on beating a Tottenham side who hadn’t lost all season…
They’re a very good side and each game we’ve played against them this season could have gone either way. They beat us 3-2, then we beat them in the FA Youth Cup but it was a draw at the end of 90 minutes. Again, it’s gone close to the wire so we’ve clearly got two very good sides going toe to toe.

on being in a promising position to win the title…
We’ve got two league games coming up now. We’ve got Reading on Saturday and then we’ll be going to Dallas, which will be very intense, as it was last season. Then we’ll face Fulham upon our return, so all of the games will be difficult. We just need to wrap everyone up in cotton wool, see how they are and then get them ready for Saturday.

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info