FA Youth Cup Semi-Final preview: Chelsea Under-18s v Blues Under-18s

I would have to say there is a case for Chelsea being in the top two or three Under-18s side in the world.

Steve Spooner

Blues Under-18s have a mountain to climb this evening if they are to reach the final of this season's FA Youth Cup.

Steve Spooner's young charges head into the Semi-Final Second Leg at Stamford Bridge looking to overturn last weeks' 3-0 deficit sustained at St. Andrew's.

Whilst Blues' Lead Professional Development Coach Spooner acknowledges the task at hand, he is looking for his side to put in the sort of performance that has seen his team reach the last four of England's premier youth football competition.

"It's an uphill struggle," admitted Spooner.

"The First Leg is behind us and we'll take this as one-off game.

"Nobody is expecting us to go there and get anything, so the shackles are very much off from that point of view.

"We have to try and prevent them scoring and score ourselves.

"But obviously we understand we have to score a minimum of three goals to take it to extra-time.

"It is an uphill task, but it's a win, win if we can do something.

"We'll be approaching it in a positive way, whilst respecting it's going to be hard."

Spooner hopes that his youngsters will make the most of playing at stadium of Stamford Bridge's stature and one he knows well from his own time as a young player.

"The players will be playing at Stamford Bridge which is synonymous with success," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to going back there because I remember sitting up in the stands when I was on schoolboy forms with Chelsea.

"It's wonderful for the players that they're going to go in the changing room and sit in places where some absolute top-class players from all over the world have sat and go out into that lovely stadium.

"We want them to enjoy the surroundings but not let them become a focus because the game is the focus.

"They've been on a long journey to get to this Semi-Final and we want to make sure we do ourselves justice."

Spooner is certainly no illusions that Blues will have to be at their very best to get anything at all against the reigning Youth Cup champions, who he regards as one of the top three sides in the world.

"Chelsea are a very good side and you can see how well they've been coached, and they're very good footballers," he continued.

"When you stand close to them you realise the physical stature and their strength and pace is phenomenal.

"I don't know much about South American football, but I would have to say there is a case for Chelsea being in the top two or three Under-18s side in the world."

But Spooner hopes his players will have gained something from having already facing the London Blues a week ago, despite the home defeat.

"From the First Leg, I think psychologically they've been released from the fact of not knowing what everything is about," he continued.

"They've played Chelsea now and experienced it.

"I've watched the video back and there were some very pleasing aspects, but I just would have liked us to build and sustain more attacks than we did.

"They've done themselves justice to get this far and I want them to continue that in this game and it would be great to get a win and we'll be doing our level best to make that happen."

Tonight's game at Stamford Bridge kicks-off at 7.05pm. This match is all-ticket to Blues fans and Chelsea have stated that no further tickets will be sold today. We will have a match report on after the game.