Martin Jol insists the challenge of Liverpool should have been effectively ended before half-time had domination been converted into goals in the Carling Cup quarter final at the Lane.
Liverpool's young side were on the back foot for most of the first period but no reward was reaped from the team's many attacking sorties. The tie eventually headed for extra-time and penalties after a Florent Sinama Pongolle penalty - following a Fredi Kanoute hand ball - levelled Jermain Defoe's strike.
For Martin, the game should have been wrapped up long before.
"It hurts, I am disappointed," he reflected after the game. "In the first half everyone could see there was no problem for us. They made the decision to play a lot of youngsters, you could see it and we had to punish that. We didn't do that.
"We played well, we played as I wanted us to even though we still lack a couple of things. I don't think they had a shot on goal in the first half and had one good chance in the second. We punish ourselves all the time.
"After 45 minutes you felt Liverpool had an eagerness and ambition and they felt they could get something. We should have punished them in the first half and should have been up two or three-nil.
"Fredi made an error and I don't understand it because there was no pressure. It was a corner but why did it end with a hand ball? It is one of those things we have to take out of the team."
Martin went on to explain his decision to omit Defoe from the starting line-up, reasoning that he must consider the workload and forthcoming games.
"Last week people asked why Robbie Keane was on the bench and the week before some said we could do with Fredi Kanoute to give some height up front. We have three strikers and I have to make a choice.
"We had a game on Sunday - so did Liverpool but with a different team - the game here and we go to Blackburn on Saturday. Pedro Mendes was not in the team, nor was Naybet and you have to make choices. I have to think about the next game as well.
"I said to Jermain that if I have to bring him on he has to do the business - and he did that."