Jason Dodd was disappointed to see a pleasing first-half display fade after the restart in Saints Under-18s’ 2-0 defeat to Wolves on Saturday afternoon.
After an unfortunate blip sent the hosts in at the break a goal up following a solid display that frustrated Wolves, performance levels appeared to drop when Regan Carthy struck his second immediately after half-time.
Dodd felt his side bowed to Wolves’ strengths and allowed them to thrive in their physical style of play, as opposed to playing around the victors.
“We were really pleased with some of the work we did in the first half,” the coach told saintsfc.co.uk. “We wanted to keep doing it; we wanted to push on and keep the ball. We were quite happy with some of the performances of the players in the first half.
“In the second half a few of the boys didn’t turn up. They thought they didn’t have to do the hard work. We’ve got to go off what our First Team do. You can’t let the opposition drive out; you don’t see the likes Adam Lallana doing that.
“You can say, ‘We had a little chance here and there.’ No. We’re not bothered about that. We’re bothered about people stepping up to the mark.
“Wolves just smashed the ball up the field and were physical. Our boys play around that, get the ball down and play and make the opposition look silly by playing football.
“We just played into their hands and too many of our players didn’t stand up to it.”
The U18 boss admitted a lack of options forced him to deploy certain players out of position but felt that offered no excuse for the manner in which some of his side stopped fighting for the cause.
Dodd also pointed to his desire for younger players to become accustomed with this level as the reason for sending on U16 players Callum Slattery and Joe Lea on against a tough Wolves side.
He continued: “We’ve had midfielders playing in wide areas and midfielders playing up front, but they should still know what is required in those positions.
“Take Chris Regis for example. In the first half he did really well up top. In the second half, he went off the boil and you can’t. It’s their job not to.
“We threw youngsters Joe Lea and Callum Slattery on. Why not? We wanted to give them a go to get used to the U18s. Obviously they were going to struggle against a physical Wolves side but that’s how we’re going to bed them in for next season.”