PDP Lead Coach Chris Brown was delighted with the Youth Team’s performance in their FA Youth Cup second round win over MK Dons.
Goals in either half from Fabio Tavares and Florian Yonsian sealed a 2-0 win at the Crown Oil Arena on Monday night.
Brown was pleased the players responded from their last game, a defeat at Tranmere Rovers, to put in a match-winning performance against MK Dons.
“People turned up tonight, which I’m really happy with, and we got a response from the defeat at Tranmere Rovers,” said Brown.
“Our performance levels from then have stepped up, which I’m really happy about. I said to them I wanted a better performance even if we don’t go through, and I think we showed that tonight.
“We were a constant threat going forward. We defended well, but I think our midfield battles improved. We got through a lot of yards and competed much better in the second-half, which I’m pleased about, so we’re unbelievably happy.”
Tavares broke the deadlock in the eighth minute, heading home Lewis Bradley’s cross, but Dale only led by one at the break due to some fine saves from the visiting goalkeeper.
“The goal we scored was a superb goal, but we should have been out of sight. Lewis Bradley had a great opportunity to score, as did Fabio three or four times.
“Fabio was superb tonight – he was electric. He just needs to add that end product to score some more goals, but he was a constant threat.
“We said to the lads at half-time that we wanted more end product in the second-half, but [due to the sending off] we had limited chances. However, we scored one of those chances, which we really needed to keep us comfortable.
“You could see by the reaction that we needed the second goal. Florian is coming up with goals now and he’s getting fitter and stronger, which is brilliant, and he’s adding that quality as well.
“Our quality in the areas we got into was brilliant. We just lacked that ruthlessness and clinical finishing. Those moments in games happen, but we have to develop that so we’re not rushing at 1-0 or leaving games on the knife-edge, because the chances we created were really, really good.”
Dale were reduced to ten men shortly after the break when Harrison Hopper was shown a straight red card, but Brown was delighted with the response from the players.
“The lads put a massive shift in from the sending off to the final whistle.
“Harrison shouldn’t have tackled like that, he knows that. He has to learn from that rash moment. The lads have dug him out of a bit a hole, and they’ve seen the game through.
“We decided to keep two up top to still cause a threat. The response [to going down to ten] was superb and we couldn’t have ask for more. We rode our luck at times because they had some good opportunities, but we did well and we’re through.”
Eight of the players that started in the game were involved in last week’s Checkatrade Trophy squad against Leicester City Under-21s.
Brown believes that experience, as well as playing at Doncaster Rovers in the first round, helped the players against MK Dons in front of a healthy attendance of 301.
“I think since the last round, the lads have had a lot of experience of either playing under the floodlights and playing here [Crown Oil Arena] with the first-team, so that’s helped us a lot.
“The opportunity that the manager has given them to play in that game and be in the squad for a professional game was superb for them, and I hope they’ve taken a lot from that. It was a big occasion tonight and they didn’t freeze, they stepped out and performed.
“The attendance was superb. The lads will gain a lot of experience from that, as well as the game against Leicester other first-team games.
“The more games they get and the more times they play here, the better they’ll become and their development will progress.”
Dale now face Queens Park Rangers away from home in the third round of the competition.
“It’s an unbelievable arena to play in [Loftus Road] and an opportunity for the lads to play in the competition again.
“It will be a great experience for the whole club. It’s been a Premier League ground, so it’s an opportunity for the lads to go and prove themselves again.
“Hopefully we can get through. With the quality we’ve shown tonight, the quality we’ve shown throughout the season, we have to be looking forward to it.”
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