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Cup Of Cheer For Stone

U23s boss pleased with performance back to front as Clarets go through

15 March 2019

Steve Stone praised match-winner Dan Agyei and the defensive resilience of his side as the Under-23s booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup.

Top scorer Agyei brilliantly bagged the only goal of the game at the Barnfield Training Centre as Burnley beat Leicester City 1-0.

And Stone believes the striker’s effort – his fourth in the competition – was a fitting reward.

“I think you have to give credit to both teams the way they went about it,” said the Under-23s boss.

“I thought two days after their European tie and extra-time they came and showed great spirit and something we had to match.

“I thought if we matched it, later on in the game they would tire because of their efforts the other day and we seized it.

“Dan came up with a moment of quality with his back to goal and the turn and finish and I thought Dan was the one that looked a threat all game without quite having the moments he normally does.

“It was nice to see him getting the winner because he’s been at it the last five or six games.

“He’s probably someone who’s gone past us in a way, but it gives a front to our team and helps the development of other players.

“He’s got to use this team to go one to better things by scoring goals every week.”

Agyei has now netted 22 goals in all competitions at under-23 level this season as the Clarets stay in the hunt for a possible league title push and a cup double.

And they are also being helped by a mean defensive streak which has brought three successive clean sheets in the PL Cup, with the Clarets now waiting to find out their last-eight opponents.

“I think they have real quality in the side but our line was terrific. They got caught offside loads of times,” Stone added.

“We play a really high line and it’s something we’ve worked on really well and I have to give credit to Faz (Andy Farrell).

“Faz has worked really hard on that and the defensive unit. He’s got them in a great place.”

The Clarets next play at Bristol City on Monday-week when they will be looking to maintain their push for a trop-two finish in the Professional Development League and play-off place.

And Stone is delighted to see his side still firing with a county cup final against Blackburn also on the agenda.

“I spoke to the lads about this. Your season can go on at this stage or fall apart within a week,” he said.

“You lose a league game or lose a cup game, and everything falls apart.

“Basically, your season’s done, or you can rise to the challenge and go and have a right go.

“The lads should enjoy this, but hopefully this is just the start of it. I’ve given them the challenge to do this today, but after today we go again and go again.

“They know my mentality and I’m trying to get that over to them. They’re getting it and I’m proud of them.”

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