Nicky Butt

Butt: Under-19s were 'pretty flawless'

Manchester United's Head of Academy Nicky Butt was delighted with his Under-19s' performance in the 4-0 win over Valencia in the UEFA Youth League but delivered a warning to his youngsters.

The Reds were in dominant mood at Leigh Sports Village as, after leading at the break through Josh Bohui's accurate finish, three further goals were added in a stunning second-half showing. Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and substitute Millen Baars all found the net against the Spanish side to set things up nicely for the upcoming double header with Juventus in Group H. 

Yet Butt felt his players dropped their intensity during a spell in the first half and believes that would lead to real punishment later in the competition, if United can progress.

Millen Baars shows his delight after scoring.
Millen Baars scored the fourth and final goal at Leigh Sports Village.

“I thought it was a good performance,” Butt told MUTV. “We started off well, we were quick and aggressive like wanted, as we were keen to get against them. We knew they were good technically and good on the ball so we had to get into their faces early doors, which we did.

”In the middle 20 minutes of it, I thought we were poor. We sat back and let them back into it. We did what we didn't want to do - let them have time on the ball, which is what they are good at. In the last 10 minutes of the half, we came back into it. I told them at half-time to get on the front foot and we were pretty flawless in the second half really, right through it.

“It was really good attacking play with good goals and good rotations in midfield, with crisp passing, and we were aggressive to win the ball back when we lost it. Overall, it was a good performance. We try for perfection and, if we want to go far in the competition, which we do, I told them they can't have a 20-minute collapse and lose the plan as we'll get defeated.”

Juventus are up next, with the home game again being staged at Leigh on 23 October, and, with the Italians also enjoying two wins out of two in the group, it should be a fascinating encounter against the Bianconeri's teenagers.

“It's another challenge and it's great for the kids,” added Butt. “Experience against big clubs they've watched from a young age play against the first team.

”They won again so we have a big test but it's something we can hopefully rise to. It should be a good football game but the most important thing for our lads is development. If you develop and win, it's ideal, but you don't always get that.

“We want to win and go a long way in the competition but the most important thing is to develop them into first-team players, who can play in the Champions League.”

There is free entry for all spectators at Leigh Sports Village for UEFA Youth League matches.