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True Grit Pleases Stone

Belief growing as Clarets dig in to secure big three points

28 January 2019

Steve Stone welcomed his side’s show of strength as the Under-23s made it a hat-trick of wins in league and cup with a battling victory over Birmingham City.

The Clarets played for over half and hour with 10 men following the dismissal of youth-team defender Matty Rain.

But despite conceding an own-goal from Jordan Cropper – who had earlier doubled the Clarets’ lead from the penalty spot – Stone’s men defended superbly to see out a 2-1 win which lifted them level with points with the Blues in the top three of the Professional Development League.

“We have been trying to get that type of game and it was perfect for us,” said the U23’ boss.

“They had to stand up to the physical challenge of a team that’s nearly top of the league and they stood up to it.

“We went down to 10 men and I think that’s all you can ask of your players.

“Sometimes we could have done things better in the second half when we had break-aways and the rest of it.

“But we have to look at what was in front of us today. They are a good side and the boys were strong.

“We played some really good stuff in the first half when we tried to put them on the back foot and it worked for 20-25 minutes.

“But they grew into the game and they are a good side and we had to deal with stuff, so we showed both sides of the game.”

The Clarets had been without a league win in 2019 but rounded off the month by following up a County Cup quarter-final win over Fleetwood Town and a Premier League Cup victory over Bournemouth.

And Stone believes things are moving in the right direction for a young side.

“There are good starting points for me to build on over the past couple of weeks,” he added.

“We beat Bournemouth who are top of the group in the Premier League Cup and we’ve beaten Birmingham who are nearly top of this.

“That shows the lads are growing in character and belief and I am growing in belief in them and they are growing in belief and what me and Faz are doing.

“There are good signs all over the place.”

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