Craig Fleming could do little to hide his disappointment following Southampton Under-18s’ 6-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs flew to a 4-0 lead by half time at Staplewood Campus, and Fleming pulled no punches when reflecting on his side’s first-half display.
“We were very poor defensively today,” he began.
“It was like the dark days of last season a little bit - in the first half we lacked any intensity and desire, which has been very unlike us this season.
“Spurs are a very good team and you need to be full tilt against teams like that. You can’t coast and think you will be able to get on the ball and play a bit.
“The first half performance was nowhere near what we are capable of and we got punished, which you will do at this level."
Saints fought back early in the second half and made it 4-2 after 52 minutes thanks to strikes from Harlem Hale and Will Smallbone.
Though the response in the opening minutes of the second half only proved to frustrate manager Fleming.
“It’s frustrating because it’s not a tactical or technical thing,” he continued.
“It is just lads turning up and being willing to put a 100% shift in. We got back to 4-2 and had a couple of really good chances.
“You think then that if we got to 4-3 it was game on, but we got hit by a real sucker punch to make it 5-2. So, all in all, it's been a really disappointing day.”