Youth cup semi first leg, Espanyol 3 – 2 Leicester City

Espanyol take a surprise narrow advantage into the second leg of the youth cup semi finals as tonight they beat an excellent Leicester side 3-2 in an end to end tie. Leicester twice took the lead in the fixture, but Espanyol came fighting back as goals from Stiller, Leonardo and Mukhin sent the home fans home dreaming.

Speaking to the media after the game

You have a real chance, how are you feeling?

“Its been an incredible journey and we are still in the tie, I can ask for no more. We had to dig in despite going behind twice, their keeper has also had a blinder so if anything it would of been nice to convert another one of our chances, but still its a great result for us”

How strong are Leicester, can you progress?

Leicester, here we have a team expertly put together by a really top manager. He has brought the team up through the divisions through some excellent scouting and transfer negotiations. He is currently top of division two, but has throughout his time ensured he has looked after his youth team to compliment his first team. He has shown exactly how it should be done, to compete on all fronts. They are still slight favourites with the home tie to come, but I genuinely hope if he progresses, he is rewarded with the trophy at the end.”

The other tie has seen Levante beat Barcelona 2-0, two strong sides, your thoughts?

“Firstly we need to take one game at a time, this tie is nicely poised and both Leicester and us know its just half-time here.

The other tie is interesting for the wrong reasons to be honest. Barcelona of course is the team i’d personally like to progress, as I strongly believe we should not be rewarding teams who have clearly manipulated the contract loup holes.

A free season pass for winning this competition could see Levante rewarded for possible back to back relegations with another free season in Division 3, which would again allow them to not take the league competition seriously, making the whole thing a farce.
As Barcelona and Leicester have shown in this seasons competition, you can still be successful in the league and service the first team.
Its no major feat or achievement to sell all your high rated players and assets for youth players. Anyone could do it, and very quickly amass a youth team that is significantly stronger than most of the rest.
I’m sure if I chose to swap all my best players for the top youth , i’d have a bigger chance of winning the youth cup. We’ve shown this season that we can build first team, youth team and the next youth team. This is a controversial view for some, but my conscience is clear.

If we are rewarding teams/managers who suffer back to back relegations then what is the point of contracts and what message are we setting?

Of course Levante may stop up, may not win the youth cup, but I trully hope if a panel decision is needed, that those appointed to make this decision look past squad assembly and look at the picture which saw players like Ben White swapped for Jobi Bellingham. Look at during Levante’s relegation season last season, how the manager deliberately left his best players out in league games to ensure he went down, to try and manipulate an easy contract. It back fired though, he didnt win the youth cup, didnt get his get of jail card and as each game ticks off in the league, gets closer to taking his side from Div 1 to 3 in 2 seasons. A side i may add that didnt need open heart surgery after the great job Dario the previous manager did in building up nice assets.

This of course is my opinion which i’m entitled to have, and hopefully it becomes irrelevant as one of the other three teams in the competition who aint manipulated the rules knock him out as a victory for the other 99 game World managers who play the game in the right spirit, where the league actually matters”

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