Pat Lyons was bursting with pride after Derby County Under-23s’ played out their game plan to defeat table-toppers Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Friday afternoon.
The young Rams ended their week on a high after picking up all six points from their away trips to Southampton and Spurs to move to fourth in the Premier League 2 Division 1, level on points with Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal.
Derby dominated the opening half, with Morgan Whittaker opening his account for the season and adding to his assist earlier in the week when he coolly rifled his shot into the far corner.
Duane Holmes was amongst all the action when he got 60 minutes under his belt as he returns to injury. He added the second goal and what a goal it was. The midfielder found space 22-yards out and hurtled his effort into the top corner.
Lyons was delighted that the squad were able to stick to the game plan that was set and implement it so well to hand Spurs their first defeat of the season.
“It was an outstanding performance,” Lyons told dcfc.co.uk following the game.
“First-half we set up with a game-plan to sit in and let them come on to us. It worked perfectly and the lads were very disciplined and hit them on the counter.
“We created five or six chances, got the penalty as well and to go 2-0 up at half-time was outstanding. Just to nullify their performance, the way they play, the way they get on the ball, our out of possession stuff was brilliant.”
The second-half Tottenham came at Derby looking to fight their way back into the game. Rodel Richards managed to sneak in a goal from close-range, but the Rams dealt with the rest of their heavy pressure well.
“We said at half time to them that we knew Tottenham would have the ball more, we knew that they would come to us,” Lyons said.
“But what we showed in the second-half is resilience and attitude. Then with 15 minutes to go when they were in the ascendency, to show courage and to dig in to get over the line, that was fantastic and I am really pleased for the boys.”
He added: “The players who have been training with the first-team, you can see they are at that level.
“They come back in with the lads who have been training with us on a regular basis and the togetherness that we have got, the appetite, the attitude and the improvements they are making from last season is brilliant.
“With Duane coming in and playing 60 minutes from his injury, his attitude and application was fantastic, his goal was superb, and he was the catalyst for us getting on the front-foot and making things happen.”
Ahead of Friday’s game, Tottenham had won their two opening fixtures of the new campaign, scoring seven goals and conceding just once.
With that in mind, the Senior Professional Development Phase Coach was even more proud of the performance his side was able to produce.
“We spoke before hand about them being top of the league, scoring seven goals, having everything their own way really and not having anyone put them under any real pressure,” he said.
“We went with a game plan to try and stop them playing and to stop their two centre-backs having the ball and it worked really well.
“The players came with the right attitude to do that and ultimately came out of top. To have two performances like we have had away from home, two long travels and staying over, is fantastic.
“To come to a top, top Premier League club and to take three points, we should all be very proud.”