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'Why we deserved it'

4 March 2014

U21s boss on a great win

Under 21s boss Martin Kuhl was rightly very pleased with what he called a 'deserved' win away to Liverpool on Monday evening - and challenged our young players to continue on the path to the first team.

Michael Hector and sub Harry Cardwell scored in each half to give us a memorable victory, and both goals were assisted by the hugely impressive Craig Tanner.

There were very good performances all over the pitch, and Martin was pleased with another positive step forward for our Academy.

He told, "We talked before the game about belief, that we'd have a chance to play if we do it our way. We said we'd have a lot of ball, more than you might expect and it's just a case of thinking about us. If you want to develop you've got to deal with the ball under pressure, which we did tonight.

"I thought we deserved it, we stopped them playing, we gave them a mark of respect because they like to have the ball, but we do too. Since Christmas we've done that well.

"People talk about styles of play, when you play from the back you will make mistakes but we responded well. I thought we played well and created chances. If you want to be a top player, you've got to learn to deal with the ball."

The second goal was a delight for any Reading fan, with a sublime Tanner pass and a lovely Cardwell finish. Kuhl recalled, "Jakey started the move off with his tenacity to win the ball back, then Tanner puts a great ball in for Harry, who made a run and great finish.

"As coaches we believe in this group of players. There's fantastic ability, a way of winning, determination and they believe in each other. The next objective is to get someone in the first team, break through, keep performing, let the gaffer see it and he'll put them in if they're ready. They've got to be ready to stay in, we don't want them to go up and down, they want to stay there. If they want to be in the first team, they've got to remove a first team player and do better.

"Yes we played at Anfield tonight, which is fantastic, but I said to them afterwards your objective is to play here in front of a full capacity crowd, that's your career. It's special to play here now, but the objective is to do it regularly in your career."

Our under 18s now face Liverpool next Wednesday night at Madejski Stadium in the FA Youth Cup quarter final, and it promises to be a cracking night. "Now it's the Youth Cup next Wednesday so this is a little tester, a few played against each other, tonight's been a good evening's work and now we look forward to next week."

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