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Critchley: These youngsters have done the club proud

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Stand-in Liverpool manager Neil Critchley was a man full of pride after his youngsters produced a performance belying their tender years in defeating Shrewsbury 1-0 at Anfield.
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The Reds were certainly the better team on the night in creating the better opportunities but the decisive moment came in the 75th minute when Ro-Shawn Williams turned the ball into his own net after a cross from right-back Neco Williams.

Speaking at his post-match press conference the U/23 boss was certainly a content man.

“Obviously with young players you’re never quite sure, but I have to say from the first whistle the maturity those young boys showed to play that game was remarkable. 

“They have done the club proud.

“They actually calmed me on the side and I think over 90 minutes we had the better chances and were just about the deserved winners on the night.

“It was so intense. (At full time) We let our emotions go but we were deserving of that because of our performance. 

“We were outstanding at dealing with their long balls and winning the first balls and second balls. We changed the momentum in our favour.

"I thought if we could handle the first ten minutes- I've worked with these boys- I felt they could have control of the game. At half time the message was 'We should go and win this game now.'"

The visitors thought they had opened the scoring through Shaun Whalley, but VAR overturned the on-field decision for offside.

 

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Critchley understood Shrewsbury’s frustration but says you have to roll with the ups and downs throughout the 90 minutes.

“VAR is there for a reason.

“And we had some luck with our goal. But you need that in the cup. I was really proud of the boys."

Critchley confirmed that Jürgen Klopp had been in touch before the clash with a good luck message and after the game to say pass on his congratulations.

“Yes, the boss was in touch this afternoon with some words of advice and encouragement, which was really nice of him. 

“We had a little message – I’ve not checked my phone yet – but we had a message from the staff at the end there and he is absolutely delighted with the performance.

 

"He is buzzing. We’ve given him a game against Chelsea away to look forward to.”

As Neco Williams mentioned, the support from the crowd on the night was outstanding and Critchley was quick wanted to give credit where it was due.

“The support we had was incredible, a full house – absolutely ridiculous for them to turn up and support those young kids. 

“They were so appreciative of it. They stayed right to the end because they saw boys giving everything on the pitch. 

“We played like a Liverpool team and I’m so proud of them.”

So with such a momentous win in the books, what is the next challenge for this talented group of youngsters?

Critchley wants this to be just the beginning.

“This is a step forward but we don’t want this to be a defining moment of their careers 

“Hopefully it just gives them a taste of it and a thirst to go and whet the appetite, so to speak, and they want more of that."

 

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