Chelsea’s cauldron of noise holds no fears for Norwich City’s FA Youth Cup finalists
- Credit: Archant 2013
Norwich City Under-18s will relish the prospect of stepping out at a noisy Stamford Bridge tonight as they resume their bid for FA Youth Cup triumph, according to team boss Neil Adams.
The Canaries take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of the final against Chelsea (7.45pm), looking to lift the trophy for only the second time in the club's history.
They will backed by at least 2,500 travelling fans as they seek to emulate the feat of the City youth team of 1983, and Adams, who describes his squad as 'confident without being excessively confident', believes the atmosphere will inspire them once again after a packed Carrow Road roared them on to victory in the first leg a fortnight ago.
'What I'm really pleased with is we've played in front of 10,000 in the semi-final against Nottingham Forest, and almost 22,000 in the final,' said Adams.
'Going to Stamford Bridge is a big thing for 17 and 18-year-old players, but it would have been a lot more daunting if we'd been playing in front of three or four hundred people at Carrow Road, so these guys have had the experience now of playing in front of a full stadium and I would expect it's not going to be as intimidating.
'I think they'll actually relish it because we looked to see how they would react in the first leg when we knew there was going to be a big crowd and I think every one of them really enjoyed it.
'The butterflies will be there, of course they will, but you saw on the night the performance we gave and the effort we put in meant these players saw what was around the stadium and rolled their sleeves up and thought 'We'll have some of this'. So I don't think we're going to be too intimidated at all if there's a big crowd down there.'
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Adams accepts Chelsea will still be regarded as favourites on home territory, and said the first goal would be vital.
'We're still probably underdogs,' he said. 'People will still think Chelsea can go and score goals for fun and we accept and acknowledge that as well, but we've got a few attributes in our own team and we can score goals as well. If we can score early, get the first goal, it drastically changes the outlook of the game.
'I'm pretty sure they'll be confident but we'll go down and play it the same way as we played the first leg, and give everything we've got. We've got a gameplan, we'll show discipline and professionalism and if we get the same effect we had in the first leg, then fantastic.'
Trying to sit on their lead and hold out for a draw is not part of City's gameplan.
'We need to go and win the game or I think you're playing a dangerous game,' said Adams. 'I said that before the second leg of the semi-final. We went out to win the game, I think you could see that. On the night we didn't, we got through, but you can't go down to a place like Chelsea with the team they've got and expect to try to defend for 90 minutes. I think you're asking for trouble, so we'll play our same game.
'If we can score the first goal, it gives us a huge advantage.'
The City coach expects holders Chelsea to step on the accelerator tonight, but without being reckless.
He said: 'I think they're probably going to come at us. I would imagine they will do. They were quite patient with their possession in the first leg.
'I think they'll see they're only a goal down and it's 90 minutes, so I'm not expecting them to go gung-ho from the start.
'They may try to get the ball forward a little bit quicker, they may even put one or two bodies a little bit further forward a little bit earlier in the game, but we'll be ready for it.
'We're well aware of the scenarios and the situations they may come up with, but it's still finely balanced, of course.
'I'm not expecting Chelsea to do anything rash so early on in the game when there's only one goal between the teams and 90 minutes to play.'