WANDERERS Under-18s have the firepower to go all the way to the FA Youth Cup final, according to joint coach David Lee.
The Whites youngsters stunned Premier League academy side Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Friday night, hitting eight goals to make it through to a quarter-final date at Nottingham Forest.
Lee believes the 8-4 triumph in front of a crowd of more than 2,500 was just rewards for the hard work of the teenage talent at the Reebok, after they became just the third Wanderers side to make the last eight in Youth Cup history.
He said: “It was a fantastic occasion for the lads to go and play at White Hart Lane. “In realistic terms the big boys probably thought they would get the better of us.
“To be fair, for the first four minutes of the game, we were shocking.
“We tinkered with the system. Rather than worry about them, we wanted to be more concerned with ourselves.
“From then on we started to become dominant.”
Understandably, on a night that saw 12 goals, Lee was most impressed by the attacking play.
“The creativity of the midfield and forward players was outstanding,” he said.
“You saw the creativity of the players from an attacking perspective.
“We work on that in training because we have pace in the team and we want to play at a high tempo.
“I know with the players we have at the football club that we will create and score lots of goals.”
While sharp-shooting hat-trick heroes Thomas Walker and Tom Youngs, as well as fellow scorers Chris Lester and Zach Clough, will take the plaudits, Lee was quick to praise the whole team and young German goalkeeper Jan-Ole Sievers who pulled off some fine saves.
He added: “Sometimes when you concede four goals, people will look at the keeper but I don’t think you can criticize Jan for any of those.
“At periods in the game he kept us in it. Jan was brave and stopped shots with his feet. He reacted well to shots from long and close range and his kicking was good. He was exceptional.”
Wanderers looked to be home and hosed until a late comeback from Spurs that saw them reduce the arrears from 6-2 to 6-4.
Lee said: “It’s a fantastic learning curve for the boys to see that even at 5-2 or 6-2, the game’s not dead. If you let silly goals in as we did, the game is not over. But the players showed character and dug deep.”
The last-eight tie at Forest is scheduled to be played at the end of the month but Lee and joint coach Tony Kelly are determined to keep the players focused on the Elite Group games as the cup goes o the back burner.
Lee added: “It’s a trait of mine, and the club’s as well, that we have put that game to bed now.”