We put together some nice attacking moves in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League contest at St Mary’s, but the absence of a killer instinct in the final third meant we had to settle for a share of the spoils after Nabil Bentaleb cancelled out Jake Hesketh’s long-range opener for the Saints.
Under-21s Coach Ugo admitted the result felt more like a defeat based on the possession we enjoyed and spoke of his frustration that we didn’t test Southampton stopper Paulo Gazzaniga more times throughout the game.
“We produced some lovely passages of play and carved out some wonderful moments but you have to be working the goalkeeper and unfortunately we were either too weak or over-elaborate with a lack of a cutting edge,” he said.
“It was frustrating, especially in the second half where we over-played more and didn’t find the right balance between good play and effective play.
“When we get in and around the box and we’ve got players running at defenders who are backing off, we need to pull the trigger. Even when you get squared up to by a defender, you might shift it half a yard to get your shot off but there wasn’t enough of that.
“There was lots of good play between both boxes, some comfortable and tidy passing, but we want the players to be more effective and cutting-edge. We had more than enough chances to have beaten Southampton but it feels like a defeat because of the lack of a killer instinct.”
Despite Hesketh’s goal for Southampton, Ugo was encouraged by some of the things he saw from us at the back: “We did look better at set-pieces, we won our headers and got some blocks in, but it’s obviously frustrating when you come away and you’ve still conceded a goal,” he added.
“It would have been nice to have kept a clean sheet but we’re getting better defensively so at least that’s a positive.”