Pat Lyons was in delight as his Derby County Under-23s took all three points in a 3-1 victory over Southampton at Moor Farm Training Ground on Friday.
Jordon Ibe struck early for the Rams before Morgan Whittaker’s freekick and Kornell McDonald’s late goal sealed all three points over nine-man Southampton.
Lyons was pleased with his team and how they bounced back from the cruel draw away to Chelsea just a week prior.
Speaking to RamsTV, he said: “We knew today was going to be difficult because there was eight changes from the Chelsea game, a lot of players with different objectives coming back,”
“You’ve got Krystian [Bielik] first game back from his injury, Jordon [Ibe] not played for a long time and a lot of the players who have been on the bench for the first team trying to get a full ninety minutes.
“We knew the cohesion of the squad and making that many changes could be difficult, and we talked about that team ethos and about starting fast. We started really well, and Jordon’s outstanding goal set us off.”
At 1-1, the Rams had chances to take the lead again but were not quite able to, Jahmal Hector-Ingram finding himself through on goal but taken down just outside the box.
Lyons admits there was a bit of a worry of a repeat of the Chelsea game, but was pleased with the goal from Whittaker that shortly followed.
He said: “We created a lot of chances last week and didn’t really take them but today, them sort of moments you ask, “Is this going to happen again?” because Jahmal [Hector-Ingram] is clean through, it’s a great ball from Morgan [Whittaker].
“You think he [Hector-Ingram] is just going to slot it in but he gets pulled down just outside the area, obviously gets sent off but it’s made all the more special when Morgan bends it top corner for us to go ahead.”
Lyons also gave a lot of praise to goal scorer McDonald, who started in the place of the injured Festy Ebosele, and gave Derby a real threat going forward.
“McDonald was another real threat for us going forward. He’s had a few injuries so he hasn’t had the consistent time to perform and now Festy has picked up an injury, he has come in and we’re delighted for him and delighted he could get his goal.”
“Even if the goal came off his chest in a bit of a weird way, we’re delighted for him that he could make a big impact today.”
Words by: Luke Thrower