Southampton Under-18s manager Craig Fleming admitted that his side’s performance in the 3-0 home defeat to Fulham was not good enough.
Saints found themselves three down by the break at Staplewood, and Fleming felt that at least two of the first-half goals could have been easily avoided.
“The first half we were awful,” he said.
“We can’t shy away from it. Defensively we were poor, on the ball we were poor – we were not good enough in the first half.
“Apart from the penalty, the other two goals came from awful defending, which is something we haven’t done all season. They were two soft goals to concede.
“In the second half we improved and created a few chances, but the game was dead and buried by that point.”
Despite the performance and result, Fleming explained that he was hopeful his young side would learn from such a display.
However, he also noted that the first-half performance was unacceptable at any level.
“We can’t get too carried away,” he continued.
“Last Monday we had nine of our boys on the pitch against Manchester City for the Under-23s, so there is that progression there.
“We have been playing with a very young side, and that, physically, can make a big difference at this age group in particular.
“That said, it is no excuse for the first-half performance we saw. That’s just not the way that Southampton play.”