Paul Harsley was pleased to see his players get their rewards for executing a game plan in City U19s must win UEFA Youth League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk.
The youngsters scored five with out reply to run out comfortable winners at the Academy Stadium, which keeps our hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the tournament alive going into the final Group C game.
Defeat to the Ukrainian’s would have made qualification impossible, but City controlled the game from the first minute and Harsley was particularly happy his players, who have not always got the results their performances deserve this season, were rewarded with a fine victory.
“The score line is great,” he said. “We dominated the game and there were some good performances.
“We went to Shakhtar and won well that day and they have taken points off both Atalanta and Dinamo Zagreb, so in no way were we underestimating them.
“We worked on what we wanted to do and put it into action, so it’s pleasing.
“We’ve played better than this and lost this season, there’s no doubt about it.
“Hopefully the lads will get a bit of confidence now.”
City will no doubt have been buoyed by our forward play, which the visitors regularly struggled to cope with.
The trickery of Jayden Braaf, Ian Poveda and Morgan Rogers caused Shakhtar countless problems, as did Fisayo Dele-Bashiru’s powerful running from midfield.
Harsley had identified the attacking trio’s pace as an area which could hurt the Ukrainian’s and deployed winger Poveda as a striker, which he felt was a catalyst for some of the team’s best play.
“I thought they might sit right in,” explained the boss.
“The idea was for Ian to drop deeper and play almost like a false nine to jink his way in and to link the play. I think he did that well at times.
“Fisayo has done really well, too. He’s obviously a strong boy and he can get around the pitch.
“We knew once we got into the final third, we’d have the pace to beat them.
“We thought they might sit in a little bit more than they did but fair play to them, they’ve come and had a go more than we thought they would, but we’ve ran out comfortable winners.”