U23s boss reacts to 3-1 victory...
KEVIN RUSSELL was pleased to see his U23s side comfortably beat Manchester United 3-1 on Monday at Harrison Park in Premier League 2, writes Matty Perry.
Goals from Tre Pemberton, Thibaud Verlinden and Josh Tymon saw the Potters youngsters see off the Red Devils in what was an enjoyable night for Russell’s men.
The visitors provided a late scare when D’Mani Mellor halved the deficit ten minutes from time, but City prevented any comeback two minutes later through Tymon’s stunning 30-yard free kick.
Speaking shortly after the full time whistle in Leek, Russell believes it is pleasing to beat United at any level and praised his side’s ruthlessness in front of goal to secure maximum points.
The 52-year-old told stokecityfc.com: “I thought we were good, without being spectacular.
“One thing I would say about tonight is we were ruthless, which we have tried to be all season really.
“We have actually played better than we did tonight and not got what we deserved, but I thought we defended really well and I thought the back four were outstanding.
“Anytime you beat Manchester United at whatever level is pleasing so it's a good result for the boys and I thought they did well."
He added: “We have only lost one home game all season. We have been hard to beat and have been there or thereabouts in every game we’ve played.”
The win sees the youngsters close the gap between themselves and United to five points, with a game in hand on both the Red Devils and Aston Villa who sit just inside the play-off place.
Monday’s result therefore has kept alive the Potters’ hopes of breaking into the top five this season and Russell revealed that it’s a target the side hope to achieve.
“We spoke about it (play-offs) all season and as I have said before, we have lost games this season which we should never have lost,” he added.
“I’m really confident that we can do it but it also about bodies as well. We have a few player out at the moment and quite a few are away on loan at the moment.
“It is good for the younger lads to come through though and hopefully they prove their worth between now and the end of the season.
“Hopefully we might have a chance of being in and around the play-off places which would be a great achievement for the lads.”