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'The whole club is playing the system'

2 October 2013

Gregor Rioch gives credit to Steven Pressley and Neil MacFarlane as the Academy march on...

Coventry City Academy Manager Gregor Rioch has praised the 'maturity and spirit' of his Under-18s side after they won 5-2 against Brentford.

The Sky Blues secured the three points with a terrific display against the Bees as James Maddison netted an impressive hat-trick with Devon Kelly-Evans and Jordan Shipley completing the scoring.

Brentford had started the game strongly, taking the lead within the first five minutes but the City fight-back made sure of the win at the Alan Higgs Centre.

Having not played a game for two weeks, Rioch was delighted with the way his side reacted to going a goal behind. 

The Academy Manager said: "It took us a bit of time to get into the game but I am really pleased for the boys as we have been two and a half weeks without a game.

"We found ourselves a goal behind by trying to over-play a little bit but when we actually got a grip on the game, we proved to be the better side and that was really pleasing to see.

"We got the equaliser at a crucial time as it gave us a crucial lift going into the break and we pressed on after half-time, getting better throughout the game.

"We scored some really enjoyable goals and we looked really solid at the back in the second half. We have had a few injuries recently as well so it shows how strong the squad is.

"Credit has to go to the manager Steven Pressley and assistant manager Neil MacFarlane as the shape which they have adapted into the first team, has come down into our side.

"We are working towards a situation where throughout the club, it doesn't matter who has to go into what position, they can all play the shape. We played one or two out of their usual position but everyone did pretty well."

The win comes on the back of the success of Cian Harries and George Thomas as they helped the Wales Under-17s side go one step closer to the UEFA Elite Round next year.

Rioch believes the success they have had in the international set-up boosts the profile of the Academy and sets a good example to the rest of the squad.

He added: "To have two of our lads representing Wales is a great thing for the Academy. They both scored and played in every game so they are getting a valuable experience out there.

"They are terrific lads who go and represent Coventry City Football Club brilliantly. There is a maturity in their approach and that is what we are looking for throughout the Academy.

"I am so proud of them. I want all of our school-boys to aspire to that level and aim to get international recognition as we have had many down the years to do so.

"Shaun Jeffers, Nathan Cameron and Conor Thomas have all had international recognition before but never at the European Championships so hopefully Cian (Harries) and George (Thomas) will get that opportunity with Wales."

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