Oscar O’Neil claimed the overall team performance was key in Preston North End U18s’ 2-0 home triumph over Bury on Saturday morning.
The first-year scholar played a huge part in a competitive midfield battle in the first-half before North End took control after the break, with Harry Garstang and Melle Meulensteen finding the net.
“I think we played really well as a team today,” O’Neil said. “I don’t know if we played the best football or we defended the greatest, but as a team, we showed up and we played really well together.
“I think we started a bit slowly but as we came into the game, we started to show that we were the better team. I think we dominated after the first 20 minutes and then after the goals went in it got easier for us. All it took was a few goals.”
The 17-year-old explained that the Lilywhites had to adapt to match Bury’s formation early on before some added determination in the second-half led to the goals which won the game.
“Their shape surprised us a little bit and we had to work that out. It took us a good 20 minutes to work out what they were playing and how we were supposed to play against it.
“In the second-half we all started winning more of our battles which just meant that we could have more time on the ball. If you win your battles, you can win the ball higher up the pitch which means you have more space to play in.”
The U18s have now won their last four home games and haven’t lost a match in normal time since bowing out of the FA Youth Cup to Stoke City at the end of February.
“It’s just got to be a bit confidence. Because we’ve started winning games, it just means you can go into the next one expecting to beat teams that maybe you wouldn’t otherwise.”