Jason Pearce on U18s' title-winning season

Jason Pearce press conference

Jason Pearce was delighted with his U18s side as they wrapped up the Professional Development League Two - South title with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m really, really pleased for the staff and the players,” said Pearce. “We started the season quite well, and then we went through a bit of a patch where it didn’t go so well and we had to really drive them in terms of their mentality.

“But where they’re at right now, I think they’re in a really good place. And the run they’ve been on from halfway through the season until now is fantastic.”

The title win makes it a remarkable four in a row for the U18s. Pearce was keen to stress that while there will be bigger challenges ahead for the young Addicks, winning is always a good habit.

“It’s a fantastic run,” he added. “We’ve got to be careful because we’re in development football. If we can get players into the U21s and the first-team then that’s the most important thing. 

“But if we can teach the players how to win, as well as doing that, then I think that’s the icing on the cake. In the last four years, to be able to do that consistently is a credit to everyone associated with the academy.”

One of the players who has been so integral to this season’s success is striker Micah Mbick, who has bagged an impressive 42 goals so far this campaign.

“As a coach, you always want to work with the best players in the country, and help develop them to become better. Micah has had a positive year. He’s had bumps in the road, but those are really good learning moments,” explained Pearce.

“For someone so young to go into the first-team group and be part of the training - it’s only going to make him better.”

The 36-year-old knows what it is like to go up into the current first-team squad having been Interim Head Coach for two games last season.

“It has been a whirlwind but what I will say is that I’ve just tried to give my all in every role," he continued. "It’s been a really good learning curve for me as a person, as a coach, and as a leader. I’m grateful for everything that’s happened."

Pearce is enjoying being back and focussing on the U18s side. “The whole programme - the education, making people better, not just players - is fantastic, and I wanted to be part of that."

The season is not quite over for Pearce’s side. After the last league game of the season against Fleetwood Town on Saturday, the Addicks will enter the play-offs. Their opponents are Barnsley, the team who beat them on penalties in the final last season. The Lead Coach insists that will not factor into his thinking.

“We’re just going to prepare like any other game. Nothing really changes,” he said. “I believe in the players, and I think we’ve got a team that believes in themselves.”

Charlton fans can support the academy by signing up to the Valley Gold scheme. Valley Gold enables fans to support the club’s academy in unearthing the talents of tomorrow, as well as giving them the chance to win cash prizes.

Click here for more information on how you can become a Valley Gold member.

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