Manchester City’s first-team is brimming with global superstars – but they are not the only Blues side that are chasing silverware this season.
The club’s Elite Development Squad head into the Under-21 Premier League Cup Final clash with Reading at The Etihad in the opening tie of a two-legged final tonight, which is free to attend for season ticket holders.
Since the appointment of Premier League legend Patrick Vieira, the youth squad has been transformed into title contenders and are currently on course for a historic treble.
Manchester City EDS’ promising young left-back Greg Leigh spoke exclusively to MM about the pressure of performing under The Etihad spotlights and what it would mean to grab some silverware.
The former England Under-19 international said: “The whole team is really looking forward to the final. We have all worked really hard this year and it would be really great to win something at the end of a good season.
“Playing at the Etihad will be great. Playing in front of fans will add to the atmosphere and we have all been really looking forward to the game.
“Winning the treble is a real possibility but only if we set about it with the right mind-set and continue to work hard as team.”
World Cup-winning midfielder, Vieira, has off-loaded much of his experience onto The Citizens’ youngsters which helped them go on a 14-game unbeaten streak – taking them to the summit of the Under-21 Premier League.
“Vieira has brought a lot of experience to the team, obviously he has been there and won everything,” Leigh told MM.
“His knowledge of the game and understanding where we are all at mentally has been vital to our success.”
The young Blues enter the business end of the season enduring a patch of indifferent form as they have lost three of their last five, including a surprise 4-3 defeat to Arsenal on Monday.
The 19-year-old said: “I am confident we will be able to bounce back after our loss to Arsenal. We just need to cut out the mistakes and I think we can be confident going into the final.
“I think this team thrives under pressure. Obviously we had a great winning streak going this season and we now go into every game expecting to win rather than hoping to win.
“We also now have the confidence to go into every game and control it. As the season has gone on everyone has become more comfortable and knows their place and what they are doing.”
The EDS squad will travel to Reading for the return leg on April 19 where they could claim their first trophy under the new management of Vieira.
They are also in contention for the Under-21 Premier League and Manchester Senior Cup crowns with the promise of triple-glory ahead.
Vieira’s side were unable to take their domestic form into continental competition and were eliminated in the quarter finals of the inaugural UEFA Youth League in a 2-1 defeat to Benfica.
An impressive Fulham outfit knocked the young Blues out of the FA Youth Cup by the same scoreline.