Thursday 15 May 2014
Chelsea Under-21 coach Dermot Drummy hailed the work ethic and "winning mentality" of his side after they secured the Barclays Under-21 Premier League title with a 2-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
"It is the theatre of dreams, and we’ve come here and succeeded in our dream"
Strikes from Charly Musonda and Lewis Baker gave Chelsea victory as they recovered from an early Tom Lawrence strike for the hosts. Despite the setback the Blues gave an assured display befitting of a campaign in which they topped the Barclays Premier League table in the regular season, with 44 points from 21 matches.
The success comes after some of the players starred in Chelsea's FA Youth Cup triumph against Fulham last week and Drummy, who has been in charge of the Under-21 side since 2010 and has been involved with the academy set-up at Stamford Bridge for seven years, insisted the players should take the credit for their triumph.
"The boys do it themselves," he said. "I'm on the line getting more excited than they are! They believe in themselves and they believe in the philosophy of the club but you've got to have more than that. You've got to have a mentality to win.
"Some of these boys played in the Youth Cup last week, a fantastic game. They've come to Old Trafford and won, having gone 1-0 down. You need a winning mentality but these boys work hard.
"It's a top club, Chelsea, and it's very hard to get into our first team and you've got to be very, very good, so let's hope they make that journey."
Drummy also praised the performance of United, coached by Warren Joyce, who has been assisted by former Man Utd legend Nicky Butt.
"The lads have done great and shown our philosophy about the way we play as teams in our youth programme, so I’m proud"
"You go 1-0 down in front of a 13,000 crowd at the Theatre of Dreams and we've come here and succeeded in our dream. Full credit to Warren Joyce and Nicky Butt, who've been very complimentary.
"The match was played in a great spirit, we played good football and thoroughly deserved what we got."
The manner of the performance was particularly pleasing for Chelsea Academy manager Neil Bath, who said the performance showcased the club's philosophy.
"I'm absolutely delighted," Bath said. "We have a philosophy of creative and attacking football, and a winning mentality, and the boys displayed that tremendously. We've come to Old Trafford, we've had most of the possession of the ball and we've played some wonderful football.
"In terms of winning mentality that's about hard work, desire, chasing, tackling and everyone being committed. The lads have done great and demonstrated our philosophy about the way we play as teams in our youth programme, so I’m really proud."
The final was broadcast on Sky Sports in the UK but that did not deter more than 13,000 fans, who took advantage of free entry to Old Trafford to watch the match.
Main stadia have been used throughout the Barclays U21 Premier League campaign, and Bath said this occasion will boost the players' development as the push for opportunities at the highest level of professional football.
"I’ve seen closely how good these players are. Some are truly outstanding players and have a massive future"
"When you can recreate this, that competes with any loan," he said. "Those type of games are competitive, a good level of football and are played in the right environment, so I'm all for it."
Jody Morris, who amassed 173 appearances for the Blues before becoming the the assistant coach to the Under-21s, highlighted the influence of Baker and captain Nathan Ake in central midfield.
"After a so-so performance against Man City in the semis we were back to our normal selves tonight," Morris said. "In the second half, we totally controlled the game, with people like Nathan Ake and Lewis Baker getting a foothold of the game and driving the team on, and in the end we were comfortable winners."
Baker's 12th goal of the Barclays U21 Premier League season capped off a superb campaign for the England Under-19 international. He was described as "outstanding" by Bath, while his performances were rewarded with an appearance for the senior side in their FA Cup tie against Derby County in January. His goal against Arsenal in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League was also voted Chelsea's goal of the season.
"I rate him very highly," Morris said of Baker. "He's not just scored the goal tonight, he's scored goals all season for us from a central-midfield position. He's a top quality, technical player but he's also shown he's got heart, and the right mentality and tonight he helped drive the team on alongside Nathan Ake in midfield. It's no coincidence that those two have played first-team football."