FA Youth Cup preview
Mark Robinson has called on supporters to help his squad produce the best performance of their fledging careers against Chelsea tomorrow night (7.05 pm kick-off at the Cherry Red Records Stadium).
The young Dons host a side that Mark rates as “the best U-18 team in Europe” with Chelsea having won the competition in 2015 and reached the last-eight for the past six seasons.
to view this interview.Youth FocusAn extensive interview with Mark is now on our official You Tube channel. Click on
Wimbledon have improved in every round of the competition, culminating in a victory at Newcastle, and Mark believes that a positive meeting with the players has put them in the right frame of mind for an even bigger challenge.
“We have a good group of boys and I think what the FA Youth Cup has done is given them a focus,” he said. “I have had to pick a strong 11 and it has given a focus to some of the boys who have not been making the squad, including the younger lads. There has always been talent there, but they have all raised their game. In some aspects, they’ve raised their levels far beyond where I thought they would be.
“The conclusion we came to after our meeting was that we did a really professional job against Woking and Ebbsfleet, before raising our levels against Watford and we raised it again in certain aspects against Newcastle. If we want to stand any chance of making this game a real contest we have to take our levels of performance to somewhere we’ve not been before. I’ve said to the squad ‘what an exciting challenge that is’.
“Some people are saying we might get 3,000 supporters on the night. To have that kind of crowd there would be great for their development. If the crowd are really positive it would be fantastic because it’s a massive task for the boys. I think the fans at Watford and Newcastle have seen that the boys give everything. As long as the boys give everything for the club and the badge it would be great if everyone is really positive. It can make a difference. There is no doubt up at Newcastle that the supporters made a difference.”
to book online.Match TicketsTickets are still available for the match against Chelsea. Click on
Mark is realistic about the challenge that awaits tomorrow night, but he’s hoping the squad can produce their best on the night after meticulous preparations.
“We planned a meeting five days before the game to face the reality of what we’re up against,” added Mark. “I feel that with anything in life when you are facing a real task you need to deal with the reality of the situation. You get lots of people coming up to you saying ‘it’s only a game of football, get in their faces’. They all mean well and they are things that you have to do, but to cause an upset of this magnitude it takes a little bit more than just getting in their faces.
“We held a nice, open and honest meeting to get our thoughts on the table. I said there would be no repercussions in terms of selection, but it was really important to know how everyone was feeling. Some admitted they were nervous and others said they could not care less and could not wait. It was good to get that out into the open and since then the training levels have gone up a notch, which is pleasing. We are going to be facing possibly the best Under-18 team in Europe and the risk of it is that some players get nervous. We have to deal with the reality of the situation, otherwise we are going into it with false optimism.”