The FA Youth Cup

Jason Wilcox: There's 'real pressure' in The FA Youth Cup

Tuesday 05 Apr 2016
Manchester City U18s boss Jason Wilcox

Manchester City U18s boss Jason Wilcox led his side to a second successive FA Youth Cup Final on Monday, with victory over Arsenal.

The Blues secured their spot in the showpiece after drawing 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium, to give them a 4-3 aggregate win over two legs.

And Wilcox believes his side fully warrant their place in The Final, where they will take on either Chelsea or his former club Blackburn Rovers, after goals from Brahim Diaz and Rodney Kongolo proved enough in a thrilling encounter.

Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City

The FA Youth Cup
Semi-Final second leg
7.45pm, Monday 4 March 2016
Emirates Stadium, Arsenal
Live on ITV4

"I’m exhausted after that, I don’t know how these first team managers do it," Wilcox told after the game.

"We worked really hard, we created some really good chances and we nullified their threat. The lads need to take messages away from this that we can’t start sloppy in both games and expect to win.

"Over the two legs, I thought it was a real good advert for English football. 

"Tonight, I thought we were sloppy in the first half but we were outstanding in the second half."

The former England winger admits he holds The FA Youth Cup in high regard, having experienced City's run to last season’s Final and repeating that feat this term.

With the competition offering young players the chance to grace venues such as the Emirates Stadium, often with the added pressure of a large crowd, the 44-year-old believes it’s an important competition in the development of young players and also his own coaching career.

Manchester City

Manchester City's Brahim Ruiz scored one of City's goals in the Semi-Final second leg on Monday

"I thought there was a real pressure on the game and that’s what it’s all about in The FA Youth Cup," he added. 

"We need to get the lads in more situations like this when they’re playing under a bit of pressure.

"There were some nerves creeping in towards the end of the game. Games like this are what the players and coaches like myself need, in terms of being under that pressure and dealing with it."

City will now await the outcome of Friday’s game at Stamford Bridge, where Youth Cup holders Chelsea host Blackburn with a 1-0 advantage from their first leg at Ewood Park.

The west Londoners have an impressive record in the competition over recent years and beat City by 5-2 over the two legs last year to seal a second successive title.

But Wilcox insists he has no preference for who he would rather to play in the Final, although he does admit to having a soft spot for Rovers after starting his playing career and making almost 300 appearances for the Ewood Park club.

"I’m not too bothered who we play in the Final," he admits. 

"We played Chelsea last year and it would be an extremely difficult game against them, but it would be unbelievable if I could go back to my old club Blackburn. 

"But getting to the Final is a huge achievement, we've put in some outstanding performances throughout the competition and it’s well deserved."

By FA Staff