West Ham United assistant manager Neil McDonald says the 3-2 win over Sampdoria on Saturday was a "fantastic experience" for the young Hammers

Picture: Action Images

Picture: Action Images

First published in Football
Last updated

West Ham assistant Neil McDonald said Saturday’s 3-2 win over Sampdoria was a “fantastic experience” for a young Hammers side at Upton Park.

The Irons twice came from behind to defeat the Serie A side thanks to a last-gasp winner from 17-year-old Reece Burke in the inaugural Marathonbet Cup final at the Boleyn Ground.

Speaking to the club’s website, McDonald said: “Sometimes personnel available dictates what formation you take. We only had 14 senior professionals for Saturday and it’s a fantastic experience for the young kids to come on in the second half.

“We were very fluid in the first half, found the spare man in the hole between the lines and got at them.”

McDonald continued: “It was a fantastic game, the first half was probably the best we’ve passed and moved the ball in pre-season.

“We’re really pleased with aspects of the game, but there’s still work to do for Spurs next week.”

Although the Hammers bossed proceedings, the Italians took the lead after Stefan Okaka slotted neatly past keeper Adrian.

The hosts restored parity moments before the break with a Mark Noble penalty after substitute Dan Potts was brought down in the box.

Sampdoria took the lead once more when Eder was set free and finished comfortably, but skipper Mo Diame brought the game level with a superb individual goal with 13 minutes left on the clock.

Centre-back Burke, an unlikely hero, netted the winner in the final minute when he tapped home fellow academy graduate Elliot Lee’s drilled cross.

New signings Cheikhou Kouyate, Diego Poyet, Mauro Zarate and Aaron Cresswell all featured at Boleyn Ground and McDonald believes it will be a good experience ahead of the side’s imminent league campaign.

He added: “We’ve been working on the tactical and technical side as well as the fitness and it’s a good time to get a victory leading into the Spurs game.”

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