Jack Wilshere was delighted with the performance of his young squad as we secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Middlesbrough in the Premier League Cup on a Saturday morning.
The winning goal came just after the one-hour mark when Will Sweet executed a perfect header from a cleverly designed set piece, securing three vital points in the group stage.
"I was pleased with the team's performance, said Wilshere”. “I emphasized to the players the importance of cup competitions, especially considering our group format, where only the winner advances to the next round. This made today's game a must-win.
"For our players, this posed a unique challenge because they've grown up in development football, where the result isn't always the top priority. Nevertheless, games like today are vital for their growth.
"I thought they were exceptional. While our playing style wasn't always perfect, we consistently demonstrated our ability to compete and be resilient, which is essential, especially when playing away. And we achieved that today."
The under-18s head coach also approved of his team's impressive defensive prowess throughout the game.
"Before the game, we emphasized the importance of excelling in both boxes. Our opponents were a strong team, particularly defensively, and we had to match their prowess. I thought we were exceptional on the defensive side of the ball.
"Playing for a club like Arsenal, the expectation is often to dominate possession, but today we showcased a different aspect of our game. Our win came from a well-executed set piece, with Will Sweet getting on the end of it. It truly felt like a classic away win."
Finally, Wilshere concluded by expressing his anticipation for the team's continued progression.
"I believe we are making strides with each passing game. Today, I consider it one of our better performances, even when we weren't at our absolute best. We found a way to secure a positive result.
"We've made significant progress since the beginning of the season, but there's still a journey ahead. With the Youth Cup on the horizon, we want to be competitive in that competition and we will continue to get better each day."
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