STOKE CITY’S Under-18s manager John Perkins says fine margins are preventing his side from picking up the results that their performances have merited this season.
City’s youngsters have experienced a poor run of form lately and Saturday’s 3-0 loss at home to Blackburn Rovers was their third on the bounce after defeats to Liverpool and Aston Villa.
Speaking to stokecityfc.com after the weekend’s match Perkins feels that his young side are just making the wrong decisions when in the final third.
“Having looked at the game a few times with the players I thought after the first half hour we should have had the game sown up with the amount of chances we created,” he revealed.
“We had five or six good opportunities but as we know goals change games and at the moment we are having problems in the last third.
“With young players it’s all about teaching them where to be on the pitch and when to shoot, and at the minute their decision making just isn’t right. You can’t give them that, it is something they have to learn.”
Perkins has seen a number of his players move up to the Under-21s this season and he revealed that although it may have had an effect on results the development of players is of more importance.
“At the end of the day we are here to develop players, not to have an Under-18s team which tops the league and fails to produce a player,” said Perkins.
“We want to produce players who can make the step up to the higher age group and to then hopefully push on to the first team.
“A number of players from the Under-18s have already played for the development squad this season including Derice Richards and Jake Cook and it’s delightful to see players like Ryan O’Reilly, who was with us last year, training with the first team.
“I think there a few others who may make the move up and that consequently allows others the chance to make the step into the Under-18s and to develop further.
“It’s going to take time to catch up with the big, big clubs but I think we are progressing really well.”
The Under-18s travel to Lancashire on Saturday morning where they take on Bolton Wanderers (11am kick-off).