David Unsworth thought Everton Under-21s were unfortunate to emerge from Sunday’s league match against Manchester City with nothing to show for their efforts.
The Young Blues lost by the odd goal in three at a wet and windy Southport, where David Henen had put the home side ahead shortly before half-time.
But an almost immediate equalising header from Jorge Intima and a later winner by George Glendon consigned Everton to a 2-1 defeat which Unsworth felt was extremely harsh on his group of players.
“It’s happened to us a couple of times recently where we have been punished, undeservedly so,” he told evertontv. “We just switched off at the last second and they scored the winning goal which I didn’t think we deserved.
“I thought it was a good, competitive game in difficult conditions, especially in the first half. We took the lead but then they scored a goal from a corner which is poor from us. But in the second half we had chances – more than they had – but we’ve got caught with the sucker punch at the end.
“The lads are disappointed but we’ve certainly put in a decent enough performance against one of the best teams in the league. I’m disappointed in the result but there were some very good performances by certain individuals.”
“We wanted to win and the lads are a bit disappointed about that, so we will get them up again. The lads will be fine.”
The Under-21s, who now sit in 11th place, have six league matches remaining, plus a Premier League International Cup quarter-final against Leicester City to look forward to on Thursday afternoon.
Unsworth is now challenging his players to end the season with a flourish and push up the table.
He added: “We cram a lot of games in now, ones that have not been played for whatever reason. We’ve got the International Cup to look forward to and hopefully we can progress in that.
“There are a lot of games now in a short space of time between now and the end of the season, so that will be a good test for our players.
“With so many players out on loan it’s a good opportunity for the younger players – some of the Under-18s and even Under-16s – to step up and compete. That’s what it is all about, the development side and getting appearances in an Everton shirt.”