Martin Hunter was pleased with Southampton Under-21s’ second-half response after a difficult first 45 minutes in the 3-1 defeat to Everton.
Hunter’s side was under pressure for the majority of the first half and trailed 2-0 at the break following goals from Brendan Galloway and Sam Byrne.
Kieran Dowell added a spectacular third in the second half, but Hunter’s side enjoyed a much better spell after the break and grabbed a consolation through Armani Little.
Speaking to youtube.com/southamptonfc after the game, Hunter said: “It was a very difficult first half. They caused us all sorts of problems.
“I thought some of our defending was heroic to say the least and Paulo [Gazzaniga] made at least four fantastic saves and wasn’t at fault for the two goals.
“I was disappointed with the two goals, which were given away by some naïve defending from the older players in the team.
“I thought the second half we equipped ourselves a lot better and apart from their good goal, we had more possession and caused them problems.”
Saints’ backline was made up of three Under-18s and 15-year-old Jake Vokins for the clash with the Toffees, and Hunter was pleased with the quartet’s efforts.
“I thought Jake Vokins again equipped himself really well and the two centre-backs (Alfie Jones and Ollie Cook) were very brave,” Hunter added.
“Richard Bakary grew and got a lot stronger as the game went on.”
With a number of players out on loan and a host of injuries, Hunter says his young-looking side must learn to deal with the physical nature of the opposition they come up against in future.
“We’ve got to understand we might play against some teams who are physically stronger than us because of their age,” the Saints coach added.
“That’s not an excuse – we have to deal with that, deal with the tempo and learn from it.”