Watford youth coach David Hughes believes his team “failed to pose problems with or without the ball” as they were convincingly beaten 4-0 by Leeds United in the third round of the FA Youth Cup.
Hughes’ side never really got going last night and fell behind after quarter of an hour when Whites striker Luke Parkin slotted the ball past Watford keeper Daniel Wilks.
Parkin netted a second before half-time and the visitors added two more goals after the interval through Lewis Walters and Alex Mowatts to book their place in the fourth round.
Watford never really created any goal scoring opportunities and Hughes admitted his boys did not handle the occasion well enough.
Hughes, who also coaches Wales Under-19s, said: “I thought Leeds were very, very good. I thought they moved it well, passed it well.
“We didn’t pose them problems with the ball when we were in possession and we didn’t pose them problems when we were out of possession in terms of pressing. I thought we were on the back foot.
“I’m looking and thinking how did we handle the occasion? Did we handle it well tonight? And it would be clear to say that we didn’t. “ Hughes stated he did not want to be too harsh on his players and insisted the result is an important learning experience for the team.
“They are young boys and we said to the lads ‘look it’s not the time to be critical now, you’re all disappointed, it’s time to reflect on why you’re disappointed,” he said.
“Think about what you could have done, think about what you need to do to improve and learn from this evening.
“There will be no getting away from it, we are all disappointed because some of the football we have played at times this season has been very, very good.”
Hughes felt his side were always playing backwards, which was inviting pressure on to their own defence.
The former centre half added: “Our first thought was backwards, we didn’t play forward, we didn’t have any penetration in behind which are all the things that we consistently do on a Saturday.
“The lads are disappointed but we’ll spend some time going through the video footage tomorrow (Thursday), which is what we always do, to try to give them some lessons to learn from tonight and hopefully they can.”
Despite the disappointment of the defeat, Hughes told the players it wasn’t a “make or break game” for the futures.
He said: “The mental side is one of the most important factors in developing young players. This one game isn’t going to make or break a career.
“We’ve got to learn from it, we’ve got to reflect and we’ve got to try to make sure that as coaches and as staff we educate the boys in what they didn’t do well tonight and then we come back and try to affect those areas in games moving forward.”
Hughes will be hoping he will be able to lift the team before they travel to Portsmouth a week on Saturday (December 8) in the Football League Youth Alliance South-East league.