AFC Bournemouth defender Zeno Ibsen Rossi believes his under-21s side have a winning mentality ahead of their Hampshire Senior Cup tie against Moneyfields tomorrow evening.
Shaun Cooper’s team head along the south coast for the semi-final, which kicks off at 7.45pm in Portsmouth.
Ibsen Rossi, who stepped up from the under-18s and signed his first professional contract in the summer, is looking forward to the fixture and stated how his side want to go all the way in the competition.
He began: “We’d love to win it. We want to do as well as we can in everything that we play in.
“We have to take each game as it comes with the semi-final up next, but if we can go on and try to win this competition then it’s a great thing to add and look back on this season.
“It’s a different type of competition to the others as we come up against men’s teams who are more physical and direct. It’s just a different way of dealing with the game, but it’s a really good experience for us.
“It’ll be great if we can go on and win this, just to get more experience of winning competitions and that winning mentality.”
Ibsen Rossi also went on to explain how the side can take huge confidence from Friday’s night’s 3-2 win over Southampton in the Premier League Cup.
The young Cherries fought their way back from behind twice at Vitality Stadium, with Sam Surridge’s 92nd minute winner securing a place in the knockout stages with one group game to go.
“It was such a good feeling,” Ibsen Rossi continued.
“I think for me and for quite a few of the lads, especially the younger ones, it was probably the biggest crowd we’ve played in front of.
“There was nearly 4,000 people there, so it was quite exciting and it was a taste of what we want to experience in the future and to get the win in the way we did was great because the crowd were giving us so much support.
“I think the Premier League Cup is the most prestigious competition that we play in, so it was quite important for us to do well in that. Now we’ve got to see who we have in the next round and continue the run that we’ve been on.”
Whether it’s the Premier League Cup or the Hampshire Senior Cup, the centre-back expressed how the style of play never differs too much.
“I think, in terms of how we want to play, we try and stick to the same way most of the time.
“We don’t want to change our way of playing too much. We still want to play our nice football, press well, play out from the back and things like that.
“Obviously, dealing with the opposition, it does change. In preparation for games like tomorrow night, we’ll work a lot more on defending direct play or defending set-pieces, things that’ll come up in the game.”
He also added how the team’s ability to adapt from a back-three to a back-four has been a huge advantage across the course of the season.
“I think the fact that we can change it whenever is very good for us,” Ibsen Rossi said.
“For example, against Southampton we started with a back three and it wasn’t working too well for us. We then changed to a back four and it was a lot better.
“Having said that, there’s also been times this season where a back-three has worked very well for us, so I think having that option to do both gives us an advantage over teams at times – they may not know what to expect.
“Personally, I like playing in a back three. It gives me a bit more licence as a centre-half to step in and get involved forwards.
“Even with a back four, the way we play, I don’t mind it at all and I don’t think any of us mind which system we play ultimately.”