Brighton & Hove Albion under-18 coach Mark Beard is encouraging his side to express themselves on the pitch in tonight’s FA Youth Cup fourth round tie against Manchester United.
Albion face a United side in a 7pm kick-off at Leigh Sports Village, and Beard wants his players to rise to the occasion against a side that knocked out holders Chelsea in round three.
He said, “It’s a fantastic cup tie for us, they beat Chelsea 4-3 in the last round, which no-one expected. Chelsea had been unbeaten for a long time, so for United to beat them was a great result.
“We’ve watched them play and both Mason Greenwood and Haydon Roberts play together for England.
“He’s [Greenwood] a special talent, but it’s not just about him and they’ve got other good players too.
“It’s one of those games where the players will go there with no fear against one of the best teams in the world and go and enjoy themselves. The FA Youth Cup is a great competition for them to be in and hopefully we can go there and cause an upset.”
Beard will be aiming for another FA Youth cup upset against United after beating part of the Millwall side that defeated them in 1991, and says he will use this experience to motivate his squad in tonight’s match.
“I’ve played Man United in the FA Youth Cup myself beating them 2-1 playing for Millwall. That was the team with [David] Beckham, [Nicky] Butt, the two [Gary and Phil] Nevilles and no one gave us a chance. We beat them 2-1.
“We knew about Beckham, Scholes and the Neville brothers. We set up a particular way and were in their faces. They went 1-0 up, but took their foot off the gas and we came back to win 2-1.
“As coaches we have to draw upon the experiences we’ve had in the past because these lads wouldn’t have had that yet. We’ve got to try and help them getting a result. If we get to the fifth round, you never know what could happen.”
The Seagulls secured their place in round four with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over West Ham United in round three, and Beard explained that memories like those will last a lifetime.
“The boys will never forget the West Ham game. After having a bad first half and possibly being four or five down, they showed the character to get back into it.
“They showed a lot of mettle by going through extra time and penalties. It would be great to have those feelings in the dressing room again. To win away at Man United would be something they’ll never forget.”