Pat Lyons believed Derby County’s Under-23s can take great confidence from their deserved 3-1 victory over West Ham United on Monday night.
The Under-23s picked up their first points of the Premier League 2 - Division 1 season with an impressive showing against the Hammers.
All the goals came in the second half at Loughborough University Stadium as Lyons’ side put picked up all three points in style.
Defender Max Bardell opened the scoring with a header from a set play, before striker Jack Stretton doubled the lead minutes later with a cool finish.
West Ham pulled a goal back with just under ten minutes left, but Stretton’s second of the game late on secured all three points for Derby.
Despite starting the season with three successive losses, the Under-23s’ performances offered plenty of encouragement and Lyons was pleased to see his players rewarded for their efforts.
“It’s the first win of the season and I think it has been coming,” Lyons told RamsTV after the game. “We had a few lads from the first-team with us and that made us stronger.
“I am delighted for the players and the staff because they’re putting a lot of hard work in to get the level of performance and three points, which we deserved. Hopefully now we can take some confidence from this good moment and push on.
“We were probably a bit lucky to come in at 0-0 at half-time, as they had a bit of momentum, but that gave us a chance to re-organise a bit and we came out a lot better in the second half.
“We switched the formation a bit, going to a 4-3-3 shape and being a bit narrow and more direct, and that helped us cause them more problems.
“It was good to see us be more clinical. We’ve been getting better at set-plays too; we scored in the previous game from one and the opening goal from Max Bardell came from one too.”
He added: “We let a two-goal lead slip at Norwich recently so when they got a goal back you do worry, but we had the quality to get that third goal."
Stretton has spent all of the current campaign with the first-team squad and scored his first senior goal in the 2-1 loss at Peterborough United in August.
The 20-year-old’s form for the Under-23s last term, eight goals in ten matches, saw him promoted to Wayne Rooney’s squad.
He made the most of the chance to get match minutes under his belt on Monday with a lively display and Lyons was full of praise for his clinical showing.
“Jack was a real threat all night and he took his goals really well,” he said. “He was getting in good positions and we got the final ball to him well on a couple of occasions.
“Jack is always going to score goals at this level and we knew we had that threat up front, so it paid off for us.”
Next up in Premier League 2 - Division 1 for Derby’s Under-23s is a trip to Tottenham Hotspur, at Stevenage’s Lamex Stadium, on Monday 27th September (7pm kick-off).