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Atay: An Unbelievable Game of Football
Friday, 30th Apr 2021 21:11

U18s manager Adem Atay admitted he didn’t know where to start following his side’s 3-2 after-extra-time FA Youth Cup quarter-final victory over Sheffield United, a tie which had everything and which sets up a semi-final against Liverpool, the club he supports, at Portman Road.

An own goal two minutes from the end of extra-time won the tie after a game which swung this way and then that, while two lengthy stoppages saw injury time across the whole match total 33 minutes, surely a Portman Road record. Overall, from kick-off to final whistle the game took place over three hours.

“Congratulation to the boys,” Atay said. “On the duration of the night, I’m really sorry to see the boys that have come off injured and obviously we wish them all the best for a speedy recovery and hope it’s nothing serious.

“In terms of the actual occasion, I said to the boys in there that I don’t know where to start. They’re obviously celebrating, they deserve to celebrate, but what an unbelievable game of football.

“First and foremost our identity as a football club, our identity as the U18s and representing the academy, I’m just so proud that they were able to showcase that tonight.

“We said in the build-up that it would be whoever can handle the emotions on the night, the occasion. Don’t play the occasion, stick to the principles, stick to the process of what we’ve been teaching them, on the night have you got that temperament to come out on top when it matters.

“The boys went a goal down, there were enough stoppages to disrupt momentum, but they didn’t quit, they kept going right to the end, and we’ve shown that in previous rounds, and then we got the goal back.

“And then there’s the flip of Sheffield United having a man sent off and you can see teams sometimes rush things a little bit and force the issue, but they stayed calm, they kept working the ball, using the wide areas and eventually got that chance, although we had a lot of chances, I think we hit the woodwork two or three times.

“Most importantly, we’ve won the game, the identity and the style was there for the club and the academy and we’re delighted.

“And the night can be summed up by the fact that we’ve just had the manager and Gary Roberts in there celebrating with the boys.

“They’re creating memories. We said we didn’t want the journey to stop leading into this game, and it hasn’t. And now we can look forward to a game against Liverpool or Arsenal.

“What an opportunity, a semi-final of an FA Youth Cup in an era when it’s not often you see a League One football club that’s got an academy going into the semi-final of a competition like that. The boys deserve every credit.”

Regarding keeper Antoni Bort, who was stretchered off having undergone 16 minutes of treatment on the pitch after suffering a knock in the third minute, Atay said: “I only saw him at half-time, he was flat out on the bed, he was conscious. I asked if he was OK and he said ‘Yes’. I said that he didn’t look it.

“I’ll go in now and find out because the win wasn’t just for the boys, it was for him as well. He’s part of this team.

“It was fantastic that Lewis Ridd was able to come on and contribute and do very well in goal tonight as well.

“The whole group’s got good team spirit and they’ll make sure he knows about that and hopefully that will aid his recovery.

“I didn’t know too much about it. I didn’t go over. Sometimes we get caught up in wanting to know how they are and we’ve just got to let the professionals take care of it. We’ll find out now when we go in.

“At first it was a cut on the back of the neck, potentially he was feeling problems in his back so we’ve just got to wait and see.”

The Blues will face Liverpool in a semi-final which must be played before Saturday 15th May, the Merseysiders having beaten Arsenal 3-1 at home in their quarter-final this evening.

Liverpool fan Atay added: “That’s brilliant. I was saying earlier that we always want to play teams that don’t get the opportunity to in league games.

“No disrespect to Sheffield United, but if we’d had lost tonight it would probably have left a little bit of a bitter taste because they’re opponents in our league programme.

“To have the experience that we’ve had against Fulham, against Middlesbrough and now against Liverpool, they’re the games that we want.

“And we won’t be afraid on the night, we’ll be the underdogs. They’re a Premier League club, a cat one club and the boys can just look forward to it and we can’t wait for it.”

Photo: TWTD

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happybeingblue added 21:14 - Apr 30
well done Adem one coach at ITFC who clearly knows his football and how to create a team and a spirit and never say die attitude!

DifferentGravy added 21:19 - Apr 30
Many congrats AA. Fantastic result

Ftnfwest added 21:33 - Apr 30
Some achievement, really well done and congratulations to all of the lads

ScottCandage added 21:50 - Apr 30
I was very impressed on how well the youth seemed organized and acting with dangerous intent. That is due to the coaching. GREAT job AA!

midastouch added 22:03 - Apr 30
The first team have totally broken down with too many bangers, time to put in a call to the AA!
Adem Atay must be so proud of his team tonight. They really did shine brightly.

TractorCam added 22:22 - Apr 30
“And the night can be summed up by the fact that we’ve just had the manager and Gary Roberts in there celebrating with the boys".

Excellent win for the youths, nice for them to give us something to cheer about and great to see Cook in the dressing room afterwards!

Ryorry added 22:42 - Apr 30
That was obvious top coaching right there on display in a group of youngsters who aren't just talented but also have really good inner qualities of determination, fighting spirit & working for each other as a team. They deserve to go far.

Thanks to all of them and yourself for re-kindling my enthusiasm in watching ITFC - I'd forgotten what it was like to watch attractive football & attacking at pace! You've only got to read the forum pages this evening to see that's true for many, many other fans too. Well done to all of you, and very best wishes for a full & speedy recovery to the injured lads on both sides 👍

tractorboykent added 23:04 - Apr 30
Loved what he said about an identity. That was a great performance all round. Great that PC and GR were in there celebrating too - clearly that sort of performance is what they want right through the club and it gives PC yet another example to show the first team wasters how it's done.

brianbull added 00:24 - May 1
We should all vote for the U18s as players of the year. Easily the best performance from an Ipswich team this season. Well done lads and well done Adam Atay

arc added 01:41 - May 1

Great work. Well done to them all, especially Adem.

Help added 07:09 - May 1
Excellent job Adam. You and the boys doing a fantastic job. Good luck in the next round

Linkboy13 added 10:27 - May 1
I think a special mention must go to the coaching team. The way the team was set up. Every player knew what there role was in the team. The ball retention and technique on the ball. The decision making. Also what doesn't get mentioned alot the timing of the substitutions. It's obvious these coaches are going to get better offers elsewhere and it's going to very difficult to hold on to them.

ForrestsFingers added 12:07 - May 1
Great win, awesome performance. Great to see Cook and Roberts were at the game. Be interested to see how many of the 1st XI squad were at the game(if allowed) or bothered to watch the game. The could learn a lesson or two about pride and playing for the shirt and for your team mates.
Bring on the ‘Pool

SickParrot added 18:26 - May 1
A great achievement. Congratulations to Atem and the lads. I hope that the new owners will now make the necessary investment to achieve category 1 status.

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