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Steve Weaver: It was a proper game of football

26 October 2020

Norwich City Under-18s manager Steve Weaver was encouraged by his side's performance in Friday's 4-3 defeat away to Chelsea U18s.

"I was really pleased with us in open play," he said. "Chelsea have got good players, but it was a game in both boxes. Going 2-0 up, we had really good chances to stretch it, although Chelsea were always a threat.

"We conceded just before half-time through a bit of bad team shape, which gave them a bit of momentum going into the second half, but I thought we put it to bed pretty early in the second half when we got the goal.

"We then conceded three set-pieces. At this level, with the teams changing so much, that can happen. We’ve basically conceded four goals without getting carved open away at Chelsea, which I would have been worried about.

"To be fair, the lad scoring an overhead kick from 18 yards is always a problem, but I spoke to Chelsea straight after because I know the lads here at the top end and they’re a great club who produce good players and it was a proper game of football.

"If we’d have won it, they wouldn’t have complained. They’ve won it and we can’t complain. It was a really good performance, I’m just really disappointed because we played some good football and pulled them apart at times."

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Asked whether going from 3-1 up to 4-3 down was a lesson in game management, Weaver said that the result wasn't so important.

"Their kids, aren’t they? It’s great to win, but it’s about performances. In the first half, we wanted them to play and they did. We’ve been onto the lads that they’re better than some of their performances and they came alive, which was great.

"That 15-20 minutes was probably the first time in any game so far we’ve been under any pressure really, so we found a bit more out about the lads. 

"It’s another game that we’ve lost and you’re going, ‘how did we lose that?’ We know how we lost it, but it’s a simple thing. I’m not bothered, if I’m being honest, it’s about where they end up long term.

"It’s good that we’ve come here and gone toe-to-toe with a Chelsea team but I’m really disappointed we’re going away without winning it."

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Jon Rowe was one Norwich player to catch the eye with his involvement in almost everything that the Canaries did going forward.

"You saw the best and worst of Jon today," Weaver said. "We know what he can do with the ball. It’s just the other side of the game, but he knows all about what he needs to do.

"These are the types of games where Chelsea will test your character and he’s fully aware of it. He’s got good attributes, but it’s not all about playing."

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