Collins | 'We gave away poor goals'

James Collins bemoaned a couple of individual errors as his under-21s were well beaten at Tottenham Hotspur on Monday evening.

Spurs hit five against the Old Gold to rise back to the top of the Premier League 2 table and, despite halving the deficit going into half-time, head coach Collins felt the team were punished by a strong outfit when they came back out for the second half.

On being beaten by Spurs

“Tottenham are the best team in our league this year. They’ve got a really strong, consistent group of under-21s playing for them and you can see that.

“We knew coming here would be tough. We had a few square pegs in round holes, but I actually thought the game plan was working quite well.

“We gave away poor goals and if we’d actually defended a little bit better in those moments, we were well in the game.

“We got one back at half-time, 2-1, and were well in the game. The plan was clear.”

On individual mistakes

“In the first 15 minutes of the second half we weren’t very good. We almost forgot the game plan and when you concede three and four, there were a couple of deflections in there as well, good teams punish mistakes.

“Plenty of individuals made mistakes. Some of those individuals had good games but then you get punished against the best players if you make little mistakes.

“I thought Alfie (Pond) played really well against the nine who is a good player. He makes a big mistake that makes his performance go from a seven out of 10 to a five out of 10. He has to learn that’s the game he’s in. Matty (Whittingham) was similar.

“We kept going, we kept at it and we have to take that one on the chin. We knew it was going to be really tough here tonight and that’s how it turned out.”

On the game plan

“We knew what the game was going to be about – trying to expose their high line, time our runs and try and get in on the counter attack.

“I thought we were doing that reasonably well and, if we could’ve defended a little bit better, we would’ve been going in a 1-0 or 1-1.

“If we’d have then played a little bit more sensibly at the start of the second half, you get to an hour and you’re well and truly in the game.”

On looking for a reaction

“It’s not the end of the world. We’ve got to dust ourselves off with the group we’ve got.

“We’ve got a few injuries. Harvey’s (Griffiths) injured, Tawanda (Chirewa) and Nath (Fraser) are obviously with the first-team, Noha’s (Lemina) got a little injury and Leon’s (Chiwome) got an injury.

“That’s probably five, six or seven of our best players missing at the moment and against really good teams you get found out with that.

“The lucky thing for us is it’s about development and seeing how the players react to these ups and downs.

“It isn’t first-team where there’s 5,000 fans behind the goal who have spent all their money to watch the game.

“That’s why it’s development. We stuck at it, but it wasn’t our day.”