Lewtas in reply at Palace, Spurs quarter-finals and Kaide Gordon

Barry Lewtas praised the spirit and desire of his players after Liverpool U21s came from two goals down to beat Crystal Palace last weekend and set up a play-off quarter-final with Tottenham Hotspur.

The Reds take on Spurs in a Premier League 2 last-16 tie at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday night (kick-off 7pm BST) after a dramatic 3-2 win over Palace.

Kaide Gordon scored twice against the Eagles, including a fantastic solo effort, and 16-year-old Trey Nyoni capped a fine individual display with a memorable winner.

The winners of this tie will host either Arsenal or Chelsea in the semi-finals and this is a match you can watch live. LFCTV and LFCTV GO from 18.55.

Read on as U21 head coach Lewtas reflects with on the five-goal thriller against Palace and previews Sunday’s trip to Tottenham…

On a fantastic comeback from him against Palace…

It was a very good game between two good teams. I knew how tough it was going to be and to be completely honest, Crystal Palace is always one of the toughest games of the season. It was a very good performance. To respond to going 2-0 down and come back like we did was a special afternoon indeed.

Gordon is getting sharper after spending a lot of time on the sidelines…

Kaide was brilliant. To be fair to him, he was a strong performer for us. He scored a great goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford and there were other moments too. His performances have become more and more consistent and his contribution to the overall team has been consistent.

He had the captain’s armband and I thought he led by example against Palace. He defended so well but obviously his two goals and assist were the difference in the end. His goal to make it 2-2 was a brilliant goal. It was a powerful pass in him and I think he thought about hitting it first time, but the touch was there, he bent it and it was a great goal.

Working with the talented 16-year-old Nyoni…

It was fantastic. For such a young boy, moreover, it is a new club and he has had to build new relationships with different coaches he does not know and build relationships with the players. To perform at the level he’s evolved to, he can be proud of how he’s adapted. He’s been a really good player for us this season since coming into the U18s, he’s had a few moments where he’s had to adjust.

He’s only 16, so it’s been a few weeks where he’s really struggled against strong, physical opponents, but his quality has been there. I thought against Palace he was excellent, I really did, and his goal summed up his performance and I told him that after the game. For Trey, he can be really proud, but hopefully there are more good performances in him between now and the end of the season.

About the goalkeeper Fabian Mrozek saved a penalty and made some good stops…

Fabian did well for us. To get a penalty so early and then to get a second penalty, the group responded really well. Fab has been really good for us this season, he made a mistake giving a penalty but he got his head together, saved the first one and he deserves a lot of credit for that.

On the challenge that Tottenham pose…

Well, Tottenham, in fairness, finished first. They only lost two games and one of them played a very young team because they were in the final of the Premier League Cup. I suppose for a team who are in form, quite consistent in their formations, you probably look at the paper and say this is one of the toughest tests for us. But it’s one we’re really excited about.

I think the way we’ve approached this season, we’ve been competitive in almost every game we’ve played, there’s been a real kind of freedom in our game because we just want to go out and win and that’s it. That showed in the second half against a very strong Palace side. I just took off the handbrake and gave it my all. We know how good Tottenham will be, but our challenge is to be as good as we can be. We know how competitive we can be and when you are competitive you always have a chance.

At the chance to play at Tottenham’s senior stadium…

It’s brilliant. I will say that every game is different, but recently we had the opportunity to play at the first team stadium in Reading, then that great night for us at Old Trafford. There are two games we can look back on and say we performed very well. It’s special to play there and maybe an extra motivation can be an advantage for us and we have to make sure it’s not an advantage for them.

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