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Jolley: Premier League Cup A Big Boost

13 September 2016

Michael Jolley insists qualification for the group stages of the Premier League Cup will be a huge boost to the club’s young players.

The Clarets will face Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland home and away in the group stages after easing past Watford at Turf Moor on Monday.

The 2-0 victory was achieved with a blend of teenage and senior players, with an unprecedented nine youth and development Squad players currently gaining valuable experience out on loan.

And Jolley, the club’s Senior Professional Development Phase Coach, stressed the importance of competitive games for developing the remaining young players.

He said: “It’s vital for us because we are still outside of the mainstream programme, so our lads need competitive football.

“If we can’t get that via loans, we need to do that ourselves and this gives us six great games to prepare for and look forward to now.

“I am sure the Blackburn games will be the focus for a lot of people, but there are two other good teams in there so whoever we play it’s about preparing well.

“Playing against Blackburn, in particular, will bring a different edge to the game, but as I say there are six difficult games and in this development world, you never quite know what team the opponents are going to put out.

“Against Watford we had some senior lads playing and they didn’t, but in the future we could be on the other end of that, so we have to prepare right and look to give a good performance.”

Goals early and late, from Jimmy Dunne and Patrick Bamford, ensured the Clarets made the group stages, with dates for the games yet to be decided.

And Jolley was delighted at his players’ attitude – especially after playing for more than an hour with 10 men following the sending off of Kevin Long.

He added: “The sending off made it extremely difficult for us for an hour.

“It was good that we had our noses in front by then and from there in the lads worked diligently and a disciplined performance helped us see it out, so I am really pleased.

It’s a big ask to play for an hour against anyone, but they are a Premier League football club with some good young players, so it was a great exercise for the lads and some of the young players are really growing in front of our eyes at the moment.

“People like Tinashe and Aiden have had a lot of profile recently, but some of the new lads like Ali Koiki were terrific.

Ali Koiki

“We asked the lads to work from their shape, press and be really organised and they did that.

“We restricted them to very few chances in the end, and on the counter attack in the second half we had more chances.”

The Premier League Cup now progresses with eight groups of four clubs, with each team playing opposing clubs home and away.

The top two teams then advance to the final 16, knockout stage.

Burnley will open the group stages with an away game to Rovers, followed by a home game against Cardiff City. 

A trip to Sunderland is then followed by a home clash with Rovers. 

And Group B ends with a potential trip to Cardiff, followed by a home clash with Sunderland.

The rules of the Premier League Cup state that the last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will all be one-off knockout ties. If ties are level after 90 minutes, they go to extra-time and then penalties if the teams still can't be separated.

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