Southampton manager Nathan Jones noted his side’s ‘naïve’ defending in the first half but praised the response during their Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Newcastle United.
Going into the game 1-0 down from the first leg at St Mary’s the task got all the greater for visiting Saints, thanks to two Sean Longstaff goals inside the opening 21 minutes.
Ché Adams then sparked some life back into the game and into his side with a superb drilled strike to halve the deficit on the night just shy of the half hour mark.
But despite showing positive signs during the second 45, and the hosts going down to 10 men after Bruno Guimarães’ dismissal, the Carabao Cup journey ended at St James’ Park.
“Congratulations to Newcastle,” said Jones, “but we left ourselves with far, far too much to do.
“We have to stay in the game for the first fifteen minutes. We would have liked to have gotten the goal but if you don’t get the goal just don’t concede as it’s different then, different atmosphere, everything.
“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb and you can’t do that, it’s naive defending, and you can’t do that. This is a high-pressure game, a semi-final, and I felt we were poor in terms of giving those goals away.
“But then the response in the second half was excellent. I think to come here and to do that shows that there’s a team in there but we have to start proving that.
“We changed and were really positive second half but just gave ourselves too much to do and you can’t do that here against these sides.”