Walsall Academy boss Miguel Llera was delighted to see the Saddlers execute his game plan perfectly to comfortably reach the second round of the FA Youth Cup with a 4-0 victory over Shrewsbury Town.
Jayden Campbell opened the scoring before Troy Perez-Duah and Saif Mukadam scored two quick-fire goals in the second half to put the game beyond doubt.
Bradley Taylor added more gloss to the victory late on as Walsall progressed in empathic style.
Llera was pleased with how the team responded as they ended a run of three consecutive defeats with a handful of players missing, particularly in defence and the Academy manager felt they got their rewards on the day.
“We couldn’t ask for more really,” he said.
“We spent a lot of hours watching them play, we had a game plan and we changed how we played.
“We played a different shape and a different style of football.
“I was a little bit worried because we didn’t have too many players available to play centre-back but Joe Perry came in and did pretty well.
“I think that we had a game plan so credit to the lads because they adapted really well. The game plan was perfect, we started by scoring a good goal through Campbell and after that I think we dominated the game.
“We were more solid than they were. All the players, including the players who came on from the bench showed great commitment so we can’t ask for more.
“They were a little a bit off in the last three games, we didn’t deserve to lose the last three and we didn’t have that luck in those games, losing in injury time or with controversial decisions but I think it’s good when you learn from that and the lads showed great character and that reflected in the score.”
The FA Youth Cup is always a big occasion for the players and Llera feels the team have showcased themselves on the big stage in the perfect way and expects them to have caught the eye of first team manager Darrell Clarke.
“For the lads it’s one of the biggest games of the year,” Llera stated.
“I think for the club also, to keep alive in any competition shows that the lads are doing well. It’s a great scenario to show to everybody how good they can be and it’s a time to impress and they did. It’s another opportunity for us to push the first team manager for opportunities.”