Youth Cup preview: Tough game against a top team

Our defence of the FA Youth Cup takes us to Tottenham for a tricky fifth round tie this evening at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium, live on Chelsea TV.

The young Blues are bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the ninth consecutive season as their attempt to win the competition for a record-equalling fifth straight occasion continues. Jody Morris’s side have won 10 of their past 12 matches since their sole defeat of the season in October and are currently six points clear in the league. However, the manager believes it was only in their most recent Youth Cup tie last month where a complete performance left him fully satisfied with the display.

‘We’ve had decent results and elements to our performances that have been good but there’s also been areas for improvement in quite a few games,’ Morris told the official Chelsea website.

‘Our best recent performance was against West Brom in the last round, where it clicked for us both offensively and defensively. There have been good spells in games, like the first half against Swansea last week, but West Brom was the game where it came together from start to finish.’

Nine unbeaten vs Tottenham U18s

Date Comp Result

December 2017

U18PL (A)

D 4-4

March 2017

FAYC (H)

W 7-1

March 2017

FAYC (A)

W 2-1

January 2017

U18PL (H)

W 3-2

October 2016

U18PL (A)

D 1-1

January 2016

U18PL (H)

W 4-2

October 2015

U18PL (A)

W 4-3

March 2015

FAYC (H)

W 5-2

March 2015

U18PL (A)

W 6-4

The 5-1 victory against the Swans was the fourth time this campaign our youngsters have scored five or more in a single game, while our December trip to Spurs in the Under-18 Premier League finished 4-4. Such technical proficiency gives the holders plenty of opportunities to harm opponents, though Morris also feels his side’s application and attitude can prove decisive as they look to secure a place in the last-eight.

‘We like to consider ourselves quite strong mentally and that mentality of our group is something which has helped us through difficult periods in the last few years at Under-18s level,’ he continued. ‘The tactical side is also important against the good teams so we want to be as best prepared as possible.

‘We understand it’s a poor pitch, which is a shame for two footballing sides, but that’s also the reality of football – it might lessen the importance of the technical side and increase the emphasis on mentality.’

Tottenham have not beaten us at youth team level since March 2015. A 2-0 win at White Hart Lane, albeit a first-leg advantage eventually overturned at Stamford Bridge, will provide a warning for Morris’s men.

"We like to consider ourselves quite strong mentally and that mentality of our group is something which has helped us through difficult periods in the last few years at Under-18s level."

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‘Spurs are a top team and we always have really tough games against them,’ Morris went on. ‘They have good technical players, they try to play football the right way and they can cause problems going forward. If you’re not switched on defensively, you can find yourselves in trouble, as we’ve found out already this season conceding four goals away in the league.

‘There’s also the added incentive of it being a Cup game against Tottenham, a London derby and an obvious rivalry because we’re two top-quality academies. We know we’ll have to be at it to contain them but it’s something we’ve been able to do in the past and something we’ll be hoping to do again.’

Supporters wishing to attend tonight’s game can purchase tickets either in advance or on the turnstiles, priced at £5 for adults and £2 for concessions (under-16s and over-60s). Kick-off is 7pm.