David Unsworth outlined his confidence his Everton Under-23s team will “rise to the occasion and perform” as the young Blues aim to complete a trophy double by beating Newcastle United in the Premier League Cup final at Goodison Park on Wednesday night (7pm).
Everton booked their spot in the final with an impressive 2-0 victory at Swansea City on Saturday.
The manager also called on Evertonians to come out in force to support his gifted young team, with tickets available for FREE*.
Everton wrapped up a second Premier League 2 title in three years a fortnight ago, with Josh Bowler the match-winner in a 1-0 win over closest rivals Brighton & Hove Albion on a joyous evening at the Grand Old Lady.
The young Blues produced an authoritative, mature performance in that decisive clash, mixing dynamic attacking play with diligent defensive work.
Unsworth believes delivering such a display in a high-stakes contest will serve his players well as they bid for more silverware.
“All season this team has got better and better and better,” Unsworth told evertontv.
“All the credit goes to the players, they’ve stepped up, they’ve listened, they’ve performed, and they’ve won games.
“Individually and collectively as a team, they’ve been a pleasure to coach.
‘For young players, playing at Goodison Park is a big thing and the more we’ve done it, the more successful we’ve been and the more comfortable the players feel when they step out on the hallowed turf.
“Hopefully they can enjoy the occasion, perform and win the game. Then everyone will go into the summer very, very happy.
“I’d love all the Evertonians to come out and watch our young players. The players love that, they love the support we get and any big crowd inside Goodison would be very much appreciated and we’d love to lift another trophy for them.”
Strike duo Fraser Hornby and Bassala Sambou both got on the scoresheet as the young Blues secured a conclusive victory.
Boss Unsworth is expecting a tough examination from Newcastle on Wednesday night but stressed his belief his young players can cap a successful season in style.
“It was a long journey back from Swansea, but we’ve recovered well over the past couple of days," he said.
“Newcastle are a tough team, we’ve watched their last few games.
"They’re in the cup final, they’re a good team. They are well organised so we’ll have to be at our best.
“It would be a great achievement for the players [to win the double].
“For them to have all these big games coming up is a fantastic feeling for them, it’s what we’re all in football for.
“It doesn’t matter what age group you’re looking after, or what team you’re with, to win leagues and cup finals is what we’re all about.
“It’s a lovely feeling to see a group of players who have worked so hard for 10 months to still be there challenging for trophies at the end of the season. It is what we’re all about.”
*Unreserved seating for the final is available via gates 48/49 and 53/54. No tickets are required but children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.