Chelsea U19s defeated their Atletico Madrid counterpart in the UEFA Youth League on Wednesday evening 3-1, courtesy of goals from Charlie Brown, Dujon Sterling and Jacob Maddox.
The victory ensured a perfect start for the youth team in the UEFA Youth League having won their two group matches so far and established a three-point lead at the top of Group C.
After the game, manager Joe Edwards reflected on hard work, tactical maturity and quality in the final third.
“It was a decent performance but a fantastic result for us,” he told the official Chelsea website. “The boys carried out the game plan well and there were some great individual performances as well. Charlie Brown led the line really well up front and Jacob Maddox with George McEachran were superb in central midfield. It was a strong performance too from Dujon Sterling and Reece James as a pair down the right side.
“Ultimately, the performance was a bit secondary for us. This is a group with three big teams in it and we want to make sure we progress so to come away to Atletico and get three points is a massive result.”
Edwards admitted he prepared his young side for the unique challenges of going away to an elite European opponent and appreciated the execution of the tactics by the youngsters.
“We watched Atletico before so we knew they were going to be a team that were very good in possession,” he continued. “It’s not often we have to suffer a share of the ball and have to do a lot of work without the ball, with the added impact of the heat in Madrid. We had a clear game plan that we still wanted to come and dominate the game but we knew we’d have to be tactically well-prepared with how we were going to deal with them having a lot of possession.
“I thought we started well and they started very slowly – we were able to press high and start really on the front foot. We haven’t had a lot of joy in front of goal lately so being able to score first really settled us and then we found ourselves 2-0 up. Atletico were clearly shaken by that but then you get a response from a good team and you see what we had planned for.
“We had to do a lot of work and remain compact, which is not something we’re particularly used to so there were still chances at both ends. Marcin Bulka made some important saves for us but we were still always a threat up the other end and Jacob, who was arguably our best player on the day for his work with and without the ball, scored a fantastic individual goal to give us a nice cushion.
“We’re really pleased with the performance because it’s not something we’re used to doing, having to sit deeper and chase the ball. We frustrated them and always looked a threat on the break.”