Clive Allen asked questions of his side following the 3-0 reserve defeat against Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Tuesday evening.
Two goals in the first six minutes from Diomansy Kamara set the tone for the night, with the striker adding a third from the penalty spot in the second half. The development coach feels his team paid the price for errors in crucial areas of the pitch.
"It was a poor start for us, Kamara who we know, arrives for two goals and it was an uphill task after that against whoever you might be against," reasoned a bitterly disappointed Clive. "They had one or two experienced ones playing and it was always going to be a difficult game to get back into.
"We paid the price for a very, very poor start because we couldn't turn it around in the course of the game. We made basic mistakes in areas of the field where you get punished. When you've got a player of Kamara's quality breaking into the box - as we talked about before the game - he is going to make you pay if you are not ready and that is exactly what happened.
"It was a harsh lesson to learn."
The boys did enjoy periods of possession where they threatened to get back into the game, but not prolonged enough periods to really look like altering the scoreline.
"It was patchy - too patchy," added Clive. "We had one or two efforts, but didn't hit the target with shots. We had opportunities to make the game closer and didn't do that. At any level if you don't take chances you are not going to change the course of the game.
"People did things that are not their strengths, they didn't play collectively when they needed to stay together as a group. There is a lot to work on and we will certainly do that.
"There has been a few harsh words from the lads and from myself. I said to them that they need to look at themselves individually first of all and ask whether they have given what they are capable of. There were a lot of bitterly disappointed players in the dressing room.
"Sometimes it is all part of the education, you often find out more about people when they are on the end of a defeat and a performance like that."