Senda on ruthless FA Youth Cup display


U18 boss Danny Senda praised the mentality of his side as they progressed through to the second round of the FA Youth Cup with an outstanding 9-0 win over Kingstonian at Dartford’s Princes Park on Wednesday.

“We had a little bit of footage on Kingstonian, but not enough to really build a detailed plan around what they did,” explained Senda.

“So it was about our mentality and how we approached the game. We asked for intensity and I felt that, right from the off, we really approached it with the right mentality.

“We were really fluid with the ball, we passed it really well and that was a real problem for Kingstonian.”

Reminiscent of the young Addicks’ 8-1 Premier League Cup win over Liverpool earlier in the season, Senda was particularly pleased with the way his side maintained their level of performance throughout the 90 minutes, despite having a seven-goal advantage at the break.  

 “The word relentless is part of our repertoire, part of our terminology,” Senda said.

“We don’t want to be looked at as a side where people come and watch our players and think ‘well, you know, they manage the ball really well’ and then that’s where it ends. I want it to be more a case of, 'they are ruthless in front of goal. The way they carry the ball through the pitch, they don’t let up on teams.' And that was the message tonight - we weren’t going to let up.

“We’re not going to let up on teams regardless of who we play, be that Liverpool or Kingstonian, and it was pleasing to see that tonight.”

While skipper Toby Bower scored twice, with Ryan Huke and Ollie Hobden both putting their name on the scoresheet during the opening 45, it was first-year scholar Patrick Casey who caught the eye. The forward helped himself to a first-half hat-trick and displayed the ruthlessness and relentlessness his manager wants to see.

“He's an exceptional talent,” said Senda.

“What Pat is is a natural goalscorer, but what we’re trying to add to Pat’s game is some bits and pieces outside the box. To round his game off, to link play in the areas that he can pick the ball up and disrupt the opposition’s back line. Then when he gets into the box, it’s about the variation of finishes that he has.

“He’s a wonderful young talent and we’re very fortunate in this group in particular that we’ve got a number of good individuals to produce chances that Pat is taking.”

The only disappointment on the night from Senda’s perspective was that he couldn’t give more first year scholars the opportunity to make an appearance in the FA Youth Cup.

“We wanted to sustain that intensity, but it would be nice to get some more of the boys off the bench.

“My frustration really with the tournament is that you’re able to name seven subs on the bench. It’s the marquee tournament, particularly for the second-years because it’s their last shot at playing in this tournament, but you’re only allowed to bring three on the pitch so that’s frustrating.

“When we took the game to where we did so early on, you almost want to have a second wave of players to give them the opportunity to come and enjoy nights like this and be a part of it.

“I’m a bit hamstrung on that and only being able to bring three off the bench, albeit the three that came off the bench impacted the game.”

One of those who came off the bench, Kai Enslin, rounded off the scoring for the Addicks after Daniel Kanu had added an eighth after the break.

Kanu was part of the side that reached the fifth round of the competition last season before ultimately being knocked out by Category One side Brighton & Hove Albion at The Valley, and Senda hopes that this side will emulate, if not better, last year’s achievements.

“I think it’s the expectation of the academy that we go deep in tournaments. This academy has got a rich history of winning tournaments, going deep in tournaments. We’re currently top of the Premier league Cup group with one game to go. The expectation is similar in the FA Youth Cup.

“We had a great run last year and we’ve got individuals that have tasted going deep into the tournament, backed up by some exceptional young first years who want to match that and go beyond it.”

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.

For more information on how you can become a Valley Gold member, please click here.

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