Jason Dodd insists Saints Under-18s’ display in their 1-1 draw with Norwich on Saturday morning did not meet his expected standard.
Southampton, whose squad included Under-16 players Callum Slattery, Richard Bakary, Joe Lea and Stuart Wilkin, wasted opportunities to put the clash beyond the Canaries in what was something of an anomaly in terms of performance compared to recent matches.
The coach pinpointed slightly selfish streaks as part of the problem but highlighted Alfie Jones’ outing as a positive note in an otherwise disappointing day.
“The performance was poor today,” Dodd assessed when speaking to Saints Player. “We have to be honest. There were only two or three of the boys to come out with any real credit.
“I know we changed the side around and we were a lot younger but that still doesn’t mean that you can go out there and not understand what you’re supposed to do and the positions and roles in the side.
“There was no point in us having a go at the lads after the game. We were just honest. We said that that was not good enough. A few of them haven’t been playing so it was an opportunity for them to show us what they were about.
“The standard and the performance – the most important thing – was well below what we’ve been expecting all season.
“One of the ones to come out with the most credit was Alfie. Alfie was excellent at centre-half, did everything we asked him to do.
“The problem with the other ones was that they were doing what they wanted to do. It doesn’t work like that at whatever level you’re going to play at.”
While Dodd praised Norwich’s approach to the encounter, he maintained they were a side that should have left Staplewood empty-handed and revealed some players’ below-par training sessions in the week showed.
The U18 boss conveyed an admirable view that he and the youngsters shouldn’t be pleased with anything other than a victory and that any other interpretation isn’t keeping with the values of the Club.
Dodd continued: “The team that are organised and understand their role is the team that is going to be successful. Why do you think our First Team are doing fantastic? Everyone knows exactly what to do. If you get one or two that aren’t doing it, then you will get exposed. Too many of them were off today and that was a problem.
“Fair play to Norwich – they came with a plan. They weren’t one of the best sides we’ve played against but really we should have had enough to be winning this game.
“People might say, ‘You’ve not lost!’ No. I want players to stand out. I want players to do what we work at in the week.
“Some of the players this morning have been poor all week and it showed in their performance today. You can’t do that, whatever level you play at. Your daily and weekly training will transfer onto matchday.
“The worrying thing is that some of them will go away thinking, ‘I did alright – it was a good result today’. It’s not about that. It’s about their individual performances and how well they did. That isn’t good enough. That’s not the standard we set.”