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Wassall Hails Derby County Wonderkids

Derby County Academy Manager Darren Wassall hailed his sides ‘desire and application’ after last night’s 2-0 win over Manchester City in the FA Youth Cup fifth round.

Goals from Republic of Ireland youth international Adam Wixted and defender Jamie Hanson sealed the win over big spending City which set up a quarter final clash with Chelsea.

“We’re delighted and thrilled with the lads because their performance was exceptional from the first minute to the last, and they’ve done Derby County proud,” said Wassall.

“Manchester City have some extremely talented players in their squad, signed from the likes of Real Madrid and Benfica, so to come out on top over the 90 minutes is fantastic for everyone connected with the Club.”

“The attitude, application, desire and character of the players was superb and we’re really proud of them. We defended well and as a team, and crucially we took our chances at key times.”

“We’ve had some great results in the past, scoring six at Middlesbrough in the league and defeating Arsenal in this competition last season but this result is probably up there with the best result we’ve had in the last few years.”

The Rams started the game on the back foot with their more celebrated opponents playing the same sort of silky smooth football that has been displayed by Roberto Mancini’s first-team in the last 18 months.

However. Wassall insisted that while it is always important to respect any opposition it is just as crucial to not become overawed by reputation or ability.

“We didn’t give them a minute’s peace and that was key, and that just goes to show ability alone won’t win you games.”

“You need to have that desire and application, which is what we stand for at Derby County, from the Academy right the way through the Club, and those ethics were there for all to see out on the pitch.”

Derby County goal celebration

Derby County goal celebration

“When we got on the ball our ability shone through and in all fairness, they didn’t really test Ross Etheridge in our goal – and that’s a credit to the lads for the way they went about their business.”

“The goal just after half-time was crucial in how the game panned out, it gave us a real lift as we sensed if we could get ahead we would go on to win the game.”

Manager Nigel Clough and his entire first-team squad were in attendance to watch the game, all of whom were quick to head down to the dressing room post-match to offer their congratulations afterwards – as did Chief Executive Sam Rush.

“It sums up the manager and the camaraderie of Derby County, from the Academy to the first-team as both staff and players, that they were all here watching.”

“The first-team actually put their training schedule back so they could train in the afternoon and then come to Pride Park at night, and they were in the dressing room wishing the lads well and then part of the celebrations afterwards.”

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