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Alan McCormack on 'ruthless' FA Youth Cup victory!

20 December 2022

Club News

Alan McCormack on 'ruthless' FA Youth Cup victory!

20 December 2022

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Under 18 Head Coach Alan McCormack wanted his side to be ‘relentless, ruthless and resilient’ and they were all of the above in a brilliant FA Youth Cup victory against Birmingham City Under 18s.

The young Hatters took a two-goal advantage into the break and then scored a further four in the second period to secure their place in the Fourth Round for the first time since 2016.

It was the complete performance against Category Two opposition and a statement in the prestigious youth cup that has now set-up a home tie against the winners of Tottenham Hotspur or Queens Park Rangers.

Speaking after the match, the former Luton Town player said: “First half we were okay, we were good in the first half without being brilliant and spectacular, and how we wanted to play. Birmingham were looking to cause us a few problems in areas which we know is always going to happen against a diamond but at half-time we said to them about being respectful but being more aggressive.

“We wanted to really go after them, press them and we came out in the second half and we were bang on what we wanted to do. We knew what our strengths were and our weaknesses were but the goal changed things.

“The next goal, especially at two-nil, is always a game-changer. The fact that we got it early and then continued to step on and go through the gears and became the team we want them to be. We want them to be ruthless, we want them to be relentless and we want them to be non-stop all over the pitch, no matter what minute, no matter what the score is.


“We want another one, another one and then another one after that. I still feel like we could have had more, especially in the first half we had two or three really good chances where we didn’t shoot quickly enough or didn’t slide in and getting grass on their backside as they say. Those are the little areas we will look at and go through with them and then try and improve on that. All in all, I’m really proud.”

After becoming Head Coach at the beginning of the season, McCormack has overseen a brilliant start to the EFL South-East Youth Alliance campaign – with 13 wins in 14 matches and 59 goals scored in the process.

As they have been all season, the Under 18s were ruthless.

“It's the way we play and it’s the way we do things,” the 38-year-old admitted. “I’ve said from the start, this will be a year and for some two years like they’ve never had before. We have an academy department now where a lot of ex-players are in so we know the game, we know how hard it is. I use the three R’s all the time – ruthless, relentless and resilient.

“You have to be that 24/7 pro, every moment of the day and the ruthless side of it will come out. The work we have done and the players have done, they brought into it from the start at pre-season. It is paying dividends now and you can see the performances, they know what they’re doing, they understand the game and they’re able to withstand good competition from good opposition and can step up more gears which is the pleasing stuff. I’m really proud of them.”

Zack Nelson – who has featured on the bench for the first team this season – scored a hat-trick and was one of many who impressed at St Andrew’s.


On his performance, McCormack said: “To be honest I thought he started a bit sluggish, he might have been a little bit nervous maybe or the speed of the game against the next category up against teams playing at a higher level. But then he grew into the game very well, he brought his game back to basics and we say do the simple things well and your performances will stand out and sometimes being ordinary is being really good.

“I thought there was a lot of really positive performances out there today, even the subs who came on, Jamie Odegah from the Under 16s stepped up and did really well and is another good prospect for the next few years.”

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