Jon De Souza looks ahead to Tuesday’s Under-18 Professional Development League Two Play-Off final against Charlton AthleticYouth Team manager Jon De Souza thinks Tuesday’s Play-Off final against Charlton Athletic will be decided by whichever team can deliver their philosophy the best.
Brentford face Charlton Athletic at Griffin Park with the winner crowned Under-18 Professional Development League Two Champions.
The sides have met twice this campaign with The Bees winning 2-1 at Jersey Road before winning 3-2 away at Sparrows Lane in January.
Speaking to Bees Player ahead of the match Jon De Souza said those results mean nothing ahead of the math and it will all be down who has the self-belief to perform on the day.
“Charlton will respect us in terms of being quite cautious in the way they defend,” said Jon.
“They will let us have a lot of the football and then wait for us to make a mistake and then counter that which is quite similar to how a lot of teams play against us and our first team.
“We have got to make sure that we are patient with the ball, look after the ball and move it around the pitch quickly.
“We also need to take risks because we want to be bright, we want to be creative and we want to take as many risks as possible.
“The results in the league games mean nothing because although we have won both games Charlton won the league.
“Come Tuesday it is about who delivers their philosophy best and who has the most belief.
“I have a lot of belief in the players and will give them the trust to go and express themselves.
“I just hope they have the character and the self-belief to do that.”
The Bees reached the Play-Off final with a 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town at The John Smith’s Stadium last month.
Having experienced disappointment in one-off competitions like the Youth Cup and IMG Cup this campaign Jon said the mood after the win over The Terriers was one of relief not delight.
“The mood after Huddersfield was more satisfaction than delight,” said Jon.
“I have said to the boys that individually we have some good players and some of the best players in the division and in the country.
“We have fallen short at IMG and in the Youth Cup and we tried not to mention it in the build-up because we believe the players have got the mentality to win big games.
“The boys were relieved and satisfied to have made the final especially after being 1-0 down and having not played great.
“We won the game but we didn’t win the game playing exactly how we wanted to.
“We tried to but we didn’t show the attacking, creative, high-quality play that we can deliver.
“The idea now is to play with a little bit more freedom and with a little bit more belief but still win the game of football.”
While the Youth Team are preparing for their Play-Off match the Brentford first-team are also preparing for their Play-Off campaign against Middlesbrough.
Jon feels it has been really beneficial for the Youth Team to have seen how the first-team are going about preparing for a potential £90 million football match.
“Preparations are going really well,” said Jon.
“With the first-team making the Play-Offs as well it is a great time to be involved in the Play-Offs.
“The boys have been quite bright and have been enjoying training.
“That is the biggest thing and we are delighted with how they have been training at the moment.
“We feel Middlesbrough will drop off against our first team in the first leg and we think Charlton Athletic will do the same on Tuesday.
“It will be good for our boys to see our first team try and break down a style of play and then we will have to go and try and do it on Tuesday.
“It’s great that everyone at the football club is preparing for big games.
“Obviously the first-team game is far superior to ours but for our players it is a big game on Tuesday.
“It is good for our players to be able to relate to the first-team.
“The boys have gone up to Huddersfield and prepared for the semi-final there and now they are watching our first team do it.
“I know quite a few of our players felt quite nervous and stressed up at Huddersfield during the game.
“I know it is a bit different from a Category Two Under-18 game to a £90 million game if we get promoted and if they find the pressure of an Under-18 Category Two game high then we need to prepare them for what the first team pressure is like.”
Tuesday’s match is being played at Griffin Park with free entry for supporters.
Members of the Youth Team have already experienced playing under the Griffin Park lights in last year’s FA Youth Cup and for the Development Squad this season.
Jon believes that the Brentford fans have a role to play in adding to the experience for the Youth Team boys.
The Youth Team manager thinks a large number of fans creating a good atmosphere will held to get the future Brentford stars ready for the pressure of first-team football.
“We are trying to get as many people as possible through the door because somehow we need to replicate the pressure that our first team are under,” said Jon.
“With the money and the magnitude of the first-team game we are never going to get close but the closer we can get the better.
“I really hope we can get as many fans through the door to put our players under as much pressure as possible.
“We want them to play with as much belief and freedom as possible under extreme circumstances.
“I do think the fans need to come down and watch the next generation of players.
“The big thing for me is that the fans can play a massive part in their development.
“By turning up they will not only see what they are like but they can also play a massive part in their development because the more people we have turning up the more pressure our players are going to be under.
“Hopefully then when they make their first-team debut they will be under less pressure.
“Brentford is a family club and one club and every fans who comes on Tuesday can help develop our players.”
Bees Player subscribers can listen to the full interview here