Liverpool U18s boss Barry Lewtas has outlined the determination within his squad to win the FA Youth Cup.

The young Reds take on Manchester City at City’s Academy Stadium on Thursday night. Tickets are still available for the match, but must be bought in advance.

Read on for Lewtas’ thoughts ahead of the one-off showdown with City…

On his pride at seeing his team reach the Youth Cup final…

It’s fantastic for the boys to have got there. It has been a really tough cup run in different ways and it’s a really good achievement. In each round we have probably been the team expected to win but I think our performances so far have been really good. I’ve said to the boys we don’t just want to be a team who just settles on getting to finals. We want to win it and we will go there and try and give it our best to win. As a club we are excited – the boys have trained well and they seem focused, they seem ready and everything is good.

Highlights: LFC win Youth Cup semi at Anfield

On the run to the final…

I look at all of our games on the way through and there was certain moments in games. We go into most games now with the expectancy that we should win, but that’s not always the case, and I think this cup run has shown that. We have had some tough games, it has been a great journey and now that’s in the past now. We have a top game now against City which we are looking forward to.

On the qualities of City…

They’re a good team. They have already won one trophy so far because they won the U18s Premier League Cup so I suppose they have that experience of playing in a final. They have got some good players, they are well coached so it’s going to be a real tough challenge.

On their league clash with City back in October, when Bobby Duncan scored a last-minute winner…

It was a good game. We scored one of our many late winners this season and it was a good performance from us. It was early on in the season and I think their team will look a lot different than that particular game. We know what we will be coming up against and we’ve moved on a lot from that game and I’m sure they have as well.

On the high standard of performances from his team this season…

When you speak to coaches after the game, a real common theme seems to be that teams have given us a chance and we have put them away. Against Wigan Athletic we got two goals early on and that put them under pressure. It was a really good game and they put us under a lot of pressure. Against Bury in the quarter-final we scored at the real key times. Against Watford in the semi-final we were just as clinical, although we could have scored more. We have created a lot of chances and hopefully we can do that on Thursday – and then the trick will be to stick them away.

On Paul Glatzel and Duncan, who have scored 28 and 31 goals respectively this season…

Fair play to them. I’ve expected them to score goals because they are good players. In terms of the way we play and the chances we create I’d probably be disappointed if they hadn’t scored the numbers they have both got if I’m being truthful. That’s not being disrespectful and putting their achievements down but I think as a group we do create a lot of chances. I think the system we play allows us to play two up front so they’ve been able to build a combination. Let’s hope there’s more in them on Thursday!

On the intense and healthy competition for places in midfield…

That’s probably been the position over the course of the season that we have had a lot of bodies. It’s probably changed throughout the season and I think boys have realised that to keep their place they need to perform and perform well, in training as well as in the games. What comes with any final is that selection dilemma and headache but I suppose having everyone fit and such a good number of players to pick from is obviously a good problem.

On what it would mean to win the Youth Cup for him and his players…

I would be over the moon for the players. We spoke a little bit with the players about our journey on Saturday and it was quite interesting because I have coached a lot of these boys since they were 14. I remember we lost one game at U14 level to Manchester City in a Premier League qualifier. We talked about that game and we took a good beating. I remember speaking to the boys after the game about our journey and moving forwards and obviously I didn’t expect then to be taking these boys at U18 level. But it’s quite a nice ending that it’s Manchester City. I know the lads probably agree with that as that game was kind of where it started for us as a group, and for their youth career this final is where it kind of ends. I know we have got some league games left, but this final is a nice end to the journey. I’d be over the moon for the boys to perform and obviously to win it would be fantastic.

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