Binnion: FA Youth Cup win breeds confidence
Manchester United will host Everton or Sheffield United in the FA Youth Cup fifth round after a comfortable away victory over Reading on Thursday night.
The Under-18s showed their ruthless streak as goals from Kobbie Mainoo, Sam Mather and Charlie McNeill gave the Reds a three-goal lead by half-time.
Reading had shown attacking promise in the opening 45 minutes, while United’s play was not quite so fluent as in previous games, but the Travis Binnion-led side capitalised on any and every mistake from the Royals.
Although Binnion was pleased with that aspect of his team’s performance, his post-match comments demonstrated the high standards that exist at Manchester United. Despite winning, the focus is on where to improve in future games.
"The main objective is achieved," Travis began.
"We talked before the game about how these nights are unique. Getting through these nights breeds confidence, the learning experiences are like no other but we will have to be better in the next round to get through to the quarter-final, for sure.
"I’m a bit disappointed with the first and last 20 minutes. We knew Reading work hard and ask questions of you. We were fortunate not to concede in the first 20 minutes. Our two centre-backs were outstanding, the goalkeeper was very good, the midfielders were good. But those players carried us through those periods, and it shouldn’t be like that. We weren’t good enough in those two periods.
"In the middle period, we showed good moments of quality, scored good goals, [and] could have scored more. And we weren’t in total control of the game but we had good control of the game."
Reading deservedly got themselves a goal back in the 82nd-minute as Ashton Greaver thrashed home a loose ball in the box. United held on for the final minutes, with substitute Logan Pye contributing a crucial challenge in the box.
Binnion continued to lay out the challenge ahead for the Under-18s.
“The big learning curve for this group of players is to be in control for longer and understand how you have that through dominating the ball, doing your work early, managing the pitch, constantly providing options and making the right decisions," he told MUTV.
Ruthless Reds knock out Reading gallery
Our Under-18s are through in the FA Youth Cup with a 3-1 win in Berkshire...
"As I say, the goalkeeper, the two centre-halves and the two central midfielders were outstanding. We talked before the game about the attacking threats that we have and that showed, but those players also have to be a lot better than they were. There’s ability in this team, as we all know, ability to score goals. That’s where they excel, but in terms of dominating the game with possession and being really hard to play against for the duration, we have got a lot of work to do."
High standards are the norm at United, but this side showed a fantastic ability to take their chances when not playing at their best. That'll provide a valuable source of confidence when the Reds host either Everton or Sheffield United in the fifth round. That match will be played, regardless of the opposition, before 5 February 2022.