Under 18s v SunderlanThe long trip up to the north east on Saturday proved to be a fruitless one for the Academy under 18s who crashed to a 4-0 defeat at Middlesbrough.
It proved to be a frustrating afternoon for coach Mick Halsall given the team’s display in taking a point from Chelsea four days earlier.
He said: “After a good defensive display against Chelsea in midweek I was looking forward to the game to see if we could repeat our defensive play whilst looking to improve our threat up front.
“For the opening 30 minutes in we seemed to be comfortable at the back but we were still finding it difficult to create anything going forward.
“But after that half hour we then began to show a lack of understanding and desire to work hard for each other. The players need to concentrate on their own roles in the team rather than looking at what others are doing.
“All of the four goals we conceded should have prevented and, due to slack displays from the players, once again we have lost heavily – something that does not reflect well on them.
“It still fascinates me that players can go from one performance to another within four days of each other and put in two completely different displays.
“The players who have been given professional contracts have to show a leadership quality which suggests they are going to be good pro’s, and the first years who are now getting more game time need to prove they are worthy of their place in the team.”