Our FA Youth Cup campaign continues with a chance to bounce straight back from our Under-18 Premier League Cup exit when we travel to Crystal Palace in the fifth round, which you can watch live on the Official Chelsea App.
The FA Youth Cup is always one of the highlights of the Under-18s’ season, as the most prestigious trophy available in Academy football, and our campaign continues tonight when we travel to Crystal Palace. The match kicks off at 7pm and will be shown live on the Official Chelsea App.
This fifth round tie at Crystal Palace has taken on even more significance this time around, as our defeat to Leicester City in the weekend’s Premier League Cup quarter-final leaves this as the only knockout silverware available to us this season.
More importantly, it provides the perfect opportunity for the Blues to bounce back from that defeat to Leicester as quickly as possible and resume the form that had seen us win five of our previous six matches in all competitions.
‘This is exactly what we need, we’re expecting a big performance,’ said Under-18s head coach Hassan Sulaiman. ‘We’re missing a few players so we’re going to have to find a different way, but in terms of development it’s an opportunity for other players to step in and step up.
‘It’s going to be a different type of game but I’m expecting it to be a very good game, a very competitive game.’
According to Sulaiman, that will require the players to go into the match with the right mentality, and a determination to perform at their best, as well as of course converting that performance into a victory.
‘One message we keep drumming into the boys is making sure we meet the demands of the game and understanding what is required to be a winner. We talk about winning behaviours and a winning mentality.
‘In order to have a winning mentality you constantly have to display those winning behaviours, making sure that you have no regrets on the pitch, making sure if you have to press and press again you’re willing to do those things, that others aren’t, and do them consistently.
‘Going into this competition I’m hoping they will be more focused because we’re out of one, to our disappointment. To win and to display a winning mentality are two different things, so hopefully we show those behaviours and the result will come.’
However, the Under-18s head coach doesn’t expect motivation or confidence to be an issue. In addition to the desire to bounce back and return to winning ways, he also believes the momentum his team has picked up over the course of this season will prevent heads from dropping or a dip in morale due to the result against Leicester.
‘We’ve had a really good season so far and we’ve usually been the dominant team in all our games, from pre-season up to this point,’ he added. ‘We’ve played some really good football; maintaining possession, creating opportunities, scoring numerous and different types of goals, defending well.
‘So when you reflect on how well the team has done thus far, I don’t think it’s a case of the boys being totally distraught and we have to pick them up. It’s just one little test. We’ve passed many tests, this was one game that we didn’t win, but no problem, we move on.
‘The boys are still in high spirits. They definitely want to perform well and win and they understand the magnitude of this game. But this is what it’s about as well, these players coping in high pressure situations.’
Where to watch the live stream
You can watch our Under-18s’ FA Youth Cup fixture against Crystal Palace live on the Official Chelsea App, complete with enhanced stats and event tracking from MVX, built by Infinite Athlete. It will be available globally and priced at £1.99.