Danny Maye praised his side’s second-half reaction as Derby County’s Under-18s recorded back-to-back home wins by beating Everton 2-0 at Moor Farm Training Ground on Saturday afternoon.

A volley from Wales youth international Cruz Allen and a penalty from Lennon Wheeldon meant the Rams moved back up to third spot in the Under-18 Premier League - North.

After a first-half performance which he wasn’t happy with, Maye was pleased with the reaction he saw from his players in the second half.

He said: “The first half was really disappointing. I thought we were a bit complacent. It didn’t look like us; we didn’t press the way we normally do and we looked a bit disjointed. It was an even game when it shouldn’t really have been.”

However, Maye was delighted to see his half-time team talk had worked, as the Rams took the lead just minutes after the restart.

He explained: “The message at half- time was an honest one; that the effort wasn’t where we expect it to be. Our standards dropped and that can’t happen. We made it clear that it wasn’t the level we expect at Derby.

“We showed them clips of our pressing - not recovering quick enough, not making back post runs and the lack of intensity.”

He added: “The second half was totally different. It was probably one of our best 45 minutes of the season, we pressed really well and didn’t give them time on the ball.”

Two home wins in a row for the Rams, after the 6-1 hammering of Sunderland last weekend, meant they overtook Liverpool once again to take back that third spot with three games to go.

Maye is hoping his side can continue that momentum as they enter the final stages of the season.

“It’s important that the lads learn that as part of their journey, winning is a habit,” he said. “We’ve won a lot of games this season. When you’re coming off the back of a few great performances and you’ve got momentum, it’s important you maintain it and that’s a lesson the lads will need to learn as they go into the first team.”

Maye’s side travel to Leeds United on Wednesday 24th April (12:30pm kick-off) in their penultimate away game of the season.

Words: Will Stanier.