Andrew Taylor reveals the message he gave to Leeds United Under 23s ahead of crucial Premier League Cup clash

Leeds United Under 23s head coach Andrew Taylor instructed his players to prepare for a physical battle at Mansfield Town on Monday.
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The Whites had to end the final game of the group stages in second place of Group E in order to qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament.

With three more points than their opponents, United had the upper hand going into Monday's game, but the Stags were vying to knock them off their perch and the right result would have taken the hosts through in the place of Taylor's side.

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Taylor did not have long to make his mark as the game came just days after the promotion of former Under 23s coach Mark Jackson to Jesse Marsch's first team staff paved the way for the former Cardiff City player to take up the post.

With their League Two opponents lining up with considerable age and experience in their ranks, Taylor was keen to ready his players for a physical game.

"I said to the lads, 'look, you need to be ready for a competitive game - to stand up to the battle, basically,'" Taylor said.

"It was a physical game, they played a certain way, they had a couple of experienced first team players and I thought, second half, we stood up to that and created some good chances.

Leeds United winger Stuart McKinstry. Pic: Robbie Jay Barratt.Leeds United winger Stuart McKinstry. Pic: Robbie Jay Barratt.
Leeds United winger Stuart McKinstry. Pic: Robbie Jay Barratt.

"Overall, it was a decent performance.

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"First half, we struggled to get to grips with the conditions, the pitch, the ball - it was a bit lively.

"We've also asked the lads to change formation slightly.

"We readjusted things at half time, just to try and create a bit more space and get our attacking players on the ball."

Mansfield Town striker Danny Johnson. Pic: Pete Norton.Mansfield Town striker Danny Johnson. Pic: Pete Norton.
Mansfield Town striker Danny Johnson. Pic: Pete Norton.

Taylor's side went behind on the half-hour mark courtesy of Mansfield Town striker Danny Johnson.

A 1-0 home defeat would have put the sides level on points and goal difference, with the young Whites advancing with a superior goals scored tally, but the home side were hungry for a second goal and on top for the majority of the fixture.

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But a second-half equaliser from United centre back Joe Littlewood put a stop to the Stags' hopes of bagging a second.

Taylor is proud of the spirit of his team as the point earned put Leeds into the next round.

Leeds United midfielder Liam McCarron. Pic: Stu Forster.Leeds United midfielder Liam McCarron. Pic: Stu Forster.
Leeds United midfielder Liam McCarron. Pic: Stu Forster.

"It shows character," Taylor told LUTV.

"It's never easy coming from behind in any game.

"But especially a game that isn't, let's say, pretty on the eye, and you've got experienced players you're playing against - it shows great character from our lads."

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