Youngsters claim PSV scalp in NextGen opener
Sat 14 May 2016, 15:36|Tottenham Hotspur
Joe Pritchard continued his recent good form in front of goal with the winner against PSV Eindhoven as our Academy made a winning start to the NextGen Series in Amsterdam on Saturday afternoon (May 14).
The midfielder, on target in our Under-21s’ final game of the league season against Manchester United and twice in the recent friendly at Ebbsfleet, brushed off the disappointment of a spurned opportunity in the first few minutes to grab the decisive strike against the Dutch giants just before half-time.
Coach Matt Wells was pleased with the lads’ efforts in the Under-19 competition and revealed how the good work started even before kick-off.
“It all began in the warm-up really,” he said. “The boys were excellent in the warm-up, then took that into the game and I thought we were excellent for the first 10 minutes – certainly as good as I’ve seen a tournament group start a top European competition.
“We hit the ground running, Joe had an early chance well saved and we continued in that way. It’s always difficult to create clear-cut chances but we had the ball mostly in their half, forced a number of set pieces which we nearly got on the end of and then made the breakthrough with Pritchard.
“The disappointment was probably that we only went in 1-0 up at half-time. We could easily have added to that scoreline but still we were very mature in our play and in the second half we were always quite comfortable.
“PSV didn’t have a shot on target in the game so Alfie Whiteman had very little to do in goal. Towards the end they forced a flurry of set pieces which we generally defended well and we saw the game out in a professional manner so it was a really solid start to the tournament.”
The game, played over two 25-minute halves at Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium, was a matter of minutes old when Pritchard got in behind PSV’s defence, only to be denied by a good low block from the goalkeeper.
Our goal arrived three minutes before the interval and it came thanks to some great work from Will Miller, who picked up a second ball, worked his way through the midfield and slid the ball through for Pritchard, who produced a composed finish.
After the break it was Miller who went closest as his free-kick from right on the edge of the area, awarded for a foul on Pritchard, was clawed away by the keeper as it curled towards the top corner.
Our second and third matches in Group B take place tomorrow (Sunday, May 15) against Ajax Cape Town (11am local time) and Ghanaian side Right to Dream (4pm local time).
Spurs (v PSV): Whiteman, Walker-Peters, Muscatt, Lesniak, Maghoma, Walkes, J Pritchard (Sterling 46), Benyu, Harrison, Miller (Stylianides 50), Goddard (Duncan 46).