Ali Melloul was delighted after Fulham’s under 18s delivered an excellent display to stun Manchester City and progress to the semi-finals of the Premier League Cup.

Melloul, who succeeded Steve Wigley as head coach following the academy restructure at the start of the season, made a couple of telling tactical tweaks that worked perfectly as the young Whites inflicted only City’s fourth defeat in 37 matches. The boss told FFCTV:

“I’m really pleased. The boys have worked really hard this season, but these part two weeks we’ve had two really big games – the Cup quarter-final being today. I’m really happy with their application. We slightly adapted what we usually do in terms of our out of possession strategy and they applied themselves really well and got themselves a really good result today.

“City are an excellent team. We played team the last two years once in the FA Youth Cup and last season in the national final we found it really difficult. We don’t get to play them in our usual games programme because of the north and south, so it was really excited to play them again. We adapted our approach, took our chances well when we had those chances and at times played the football we want to play as well.”

Melloul paid particular credit to Luke Harris, the sixteen year-old attacking midfielder whose second half brace secured victory, and Terrell Works, who had replaced Ollie Sanderson after the forward contracted covid in the run-up to the quarter-final.

“That’s what Luke does. He arrives in the box and finishes well. Credit to all the boys as well for all their work to support that process. We lost Ollie Sanderson a couple of days ago due to Covid – he’s played as a striker for the whole season so far, Terrell came in and did a really good job as well. The whole team performance to support the outcome was really good.”