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Different tests but under-18s remain unbeaten

Steve Davis is pleased with how his Wolves under-18 side have overcome different types of challenges to remain unbeaten after the first four games of the season.

Victories over Stoke City and Manchester United were followed up with a draw against Liverpool before another three points were achieved against Sunderland on Saturday.

Chem Campbell’s fourth goal of the season set Davis’ side on course for victory in first-half stoppage time, before Faisu Sangare put the game beyond doubt when he fired home with just under five minutes left on the clock at Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground.

Despite sitting in second place in the U18 Premier League North table after taking 10 points from a possible 12 since the start of the season, Davis still believes his players can improve and learn from the variety of challenges they have faced so far.

On breaking down Sunderland

“It was a different type of test against Sunderland than in our previous matches this season, when you play Stoke, Liverpool and Man United they’re going to come at you a little bit more, whereas Sunderland sat back, let us have the ball and invited us onto them.

“They sat really deep and almost set up an 11 behind the ball-type block in the same system as us. They matched us up and played the same shape, but really deep, allowing us to have the ball in our own half and dropped off.

“We found that different and difficult because they didn’t really open up until we scored the second with about five minutes left in the match, and this left space behind which our players were able to find.”

On learning from their challenges

“What we can learn from this game is that if teams do that and go with a deep block, which I’m sure other teams will, we’ve got to be more patient and find better ways to try and break them down.

“You have seen it with the first-team that they find some difficulty in breaking teams down that put up blocks – Man City have to face that every week – so it’s having the know-how and quality to break that down, but it’s not easy.

“All this is part of the players’ education and in our analysis this week the players were learning about how we can break the block down, but each game is different and facing this will only make our lads better players.”

On adapting to opponents

“We also play differently depending on our opponents; against Man United we had the deep block and managed to limit them with very few chances, while taking our own, and it could’ve been a greater score. Against Liverpool we had two or three one-on-ones before they scored the equaliser.

“I’m really pleased with how we’ve played so far, kept three clean sheets out of four games, so the back five and the goalkeeper are doing really well, and as a team generally we look very good defensively and hard to break down.

“Hopefully that can continue, but the main thing is consistency. We’re in a break now, so hopefully we don’t lose any of that momentum going into the next game against Middlesbrough.”

COMING UP

The under-18s now have an international break until Saturday 14th September when they will travel to Rockliffe Park to take on a Middlesbrough side who have had a tough start to their season, with kick-off at 11am.

NEXT FIVE

14/09 Middlesbrough (A)

21/09 West Bromwich Albion (H)

05/10 Manchester City (A)

19/10 Everton (H)

02/11 Manchester United (A)

TEAMS

Sunderland: Newman, Pye, Krakue, Baggs, Ord, Jones, Armstrong (Bruce 85), Smith, Diciccio (Triallist 74), Watts, Kiernan.

Unused subs: Cameron, Compper, Bidnett.

Wolves: Young, Bueno, Richards, Estrada, Scott, Marques, Campbell (Hodnett 85), Cundle, Parkeer, Abbey (Corbeanu 66), Carty (Sangare 74).

Unused subs: Tipton, Bugarin.

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