Martin Hunter believes some of his players struggled to deal with the occasion of a Premier League 2 match, as Southampton Under-23s suffered a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Two Paolo Fernandes strikes either side of the interval were compounded by Florin Gardos’ 57th-minute own goal to complete the evening’s scoring for the visitors at Staplewood Campus.
“The players didn’t deal with the pressure,” said Hunter.
“For the first half, the first 25 minutes, yes we played some good stuff. But in the second half, particularly the first 20 minutes, we’ve been taught a lesson.
“Manchester City have some very talented individual players and also played well as a team tonight – at times we couldn’t handle it.
“We will pick the players up in the week and get ready for the next game, but now we will debrief the game and I would like a big input from the players to explain why the performance levels were not that high.”
Hunter made five changes to the team that drew 0-0 with Arsenal in the previous Premier League 2 outing.
And despite fielding a relatively youthful team against City, he was keen not to use his players' age to justify the evening's performance.
“We can’t use that as an excuse,” he continued.
“You look at the league this season and you look at the Manchester City side, they had quite a few youngsters in tonight as well.
“Our players will get great opportunities at this club, but they need to be able to show in the pressure of these kinds of games what they can do.”