Craig Fleming felt his youthful Southampton Under-18s side were slightly hard done by during their 2-0 defeat away to West Ham United.
Saints put on a valiant display against a strong Hammers outfit at Little Heath, but goals from Joe Powell and Korrey Henry ensured victory for the hosts.
“I think there are two ways to look at it,” started Fleming.
“Development-wise we had a very, very young side out there today. We had eight first years involved and I thought they performed really well.
“We dominated the game and created lots of chances, but got caught by two sucker-punches whilst we didn’t make the most of our opportunities.
“But the lads dug in physically against bigger opposition and coped with it well. On the ball I thought we were more than worth something from the game.”
Powell put the Hammers ahead directly from a free-kick in the first half, before Henry then netted in added time to complete the win.
But, despite the scoreline, Fleming felt his side had the better of the play.
“It was a tight game but overall I felt we had the better chances,” he continued.
“I think the lads were walking off the pitch thinking ‘how have we lost that game?’ You could see it in their eyes. They played well, created chances but lost the game.
“That’s football, and what we have to do is just polish them and make them aware of the things they need to do to win games like that in the future.”