Academy. Dawson "delighted" after maiden UEFA Youth League win

28 Nov 23

After Newcastle United Under-19s' 2-1 triumph against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Youth League, coach Ben Dawson admitted he "couldn't ask for any more" from his players.

The Toon teenagers led inside 11 minutes at the Stage Georges-Lefèvre as Scott Bailey, a late introduction to the starting line-up following Ciaran Thompson’s withdrawal in the warm-up, completed a neat attacking move from the visitors before PSG captain Senny Mayulu was sent off within the opening minutes of the restart after receiving a second yellow card.

Newcastle found themselves on level terms in the closing stages through Mahamadou Sangaré’s volley but regained their lead in the dying stages through Johnny Emerson’s strike, sealing the club’s first ever victory in the competition.

Dawson, overseeing the Magpies' under-19 side along with Neil Winskill, told “I think everybody, players and staff, is delighted. It’s been a long time coming and all credit to the players on the pitch. We scored a terrific (first) goal and we managed large parts of the game really well even after they get a player sent off as we’re playing a top team with quality all over the pitch.

“They (PSG) showed that in the equaliser but then we showed good character and resilience to dig in and believe we could still go on and win the game. We got a little bit of luck with the winning goal but, at that stage of the game, you take anything to get yourself across the line.

“The group hadn’t had that yet in this competition so I’m really pleased for them and hopefully now it gives them a bit of confidence to go into the last game against Milan, who are flying in every game they’ve played in the Youth League, and get a result at home.

“The early breakthrough was the key element. I think the lads grew in confidence from that point on and the quality of the goal is something we try to practice every week in training. It’s part of what we work on and what we expect of the lads in possession.

“You can quite easily get caught in the thought process of it being easier but you’re playing against a top European team with good players and they still posed a threat on the break, changing shape to try and get pressure on the ball to stop us slowing the game down around the back and having play more forward and be more direct.

“It was important that we stuck to what we know and practice, not deviating from that too much and thankfully that’s what got us through in the end.”

Despite the setback of conceding in the closing stages, Dawson was encouraged by the squad’s swift response in regaining their one-goal advantage three minutes later and highlighted their willingness to continue fighting until the final whistle, referring to Newcastle’s reverse fixture against their PSG counterparts at the Gateshead International Stadium.

He added: “Before their equaliser, I thought about the number of chances that we’d had which we didn’t capitalise on and, as the coach, you’re thinking you don’t hope they break away and nick one against the run of play which they did. We seemed to sit off and invite that bit of pressure but then the response was terrific. I couldn’t ask for any more of them.

“The game against PSG when we lost in the last minute; we know how that feels but we also know how important it is to keep going for 90 minutes. The two games against Dortmund were like the where we seemed to come on stronger as the game went on.

“We could have got back into it in the home game and we did that in the away match and could have gone on to win it. In terms of resilience of character, despite whatever the result is, this group seems to have the inner drive to go until the last minute."

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