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Stone: Enjoy The Moment

U23s boss says these are special times for players after clinching knock-out spot

1 March 2019

Steve Stone told his players to relish the achievement of coming back from the dead to reach the last 16 of the Premier League Cup.

The Clarets looked to have little chance after losing their opening game 7-1 at Bournemouth.

But they hit back with a five-match unbeaten run which was enough to them into the knock-out stages thanks to a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the Group C decider at Curzon Ashton.

And Stone urged them to enjoy the moment after they dug deep to make Dan Agyei’s second-minute strike the winner.

“It’s an achievement we thought we couldn’t actually manage because of how other results might have gone and stopped us,” said the Under-23s’ boss.

“But I said to them ‘it’s all about you today and for you and things you remember which you finish your career. When you were a youth player what did you achieve?’

“They’ll go on and achieve other things but your youth team and your under-23 is a special time.

“You have a camaraderie which you never forget. I never forgot mine and they were some of the best days of my career.

“Hopefully days like this will help them remember what’s positive about being a footballer.

“They’ve put the hard work in and been really well organized and counter-attacked like we’ve asked them to do against a good side.”

The Clarets got past two category one clubs in Liverpool and West Brom, twice drawing with the Reds and taken four points from the Baggies who found Burnley too tough a nut to crack.

Adam Legzdins kept a successive clean sheet behind a back four that refused to buckle.

And another match-winning performance from Agyei got the Clarets over the line with his 21st goal of the season.

“I’ve got to give the lads up front a mention,” added Stone.

“The lads at the back will get all the credit for the resilience they showed, but they worked incredibly hard – Rob (Harker) and Dan.

“That’s what I’ve been asking them. If you haven’t got a front two to your team you’ve got no chance and they set a precedent right from the start.”

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