Radhi Jaïdi has called on his young charges to react quickly and return their usual levels of performance following Friday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to Cardiff City in the PL Cup.
The result sees Saints U23s remain in a strong position to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League-style competition but missed an opportunity to take control of Group B here.
Jaïdi’s side struggled to handle the visitors’ direct approach and rarely threatened to get off the mark at Staplewood campus before Michael Gyasi struck the winner for Cardiff 14 minutes from time.
“I think the start was really poor,” he said. “We didn’t control the game as we normally would.
“We knew before the game that Cardiff would try and play direct but we weren’t ready for it. The boys need to be flexible in these kinds of situations and understand what is needed in any given game.
“We needed to win the first ball and then the second but we didn’t do it.”
A penalty save from Kingsley Latham inside five minutes could have acted as a springboard for the home side to go on and put their visitors under pressure but the young goalkeeper’s fine stop was the only bright spot of the evening for coach Jaïdi.
A quick response is key now for the former Saints defender.
“Kingsley’s save was the most positive thing in the game. He made a great stop and it was a good night for him and a good chance to prove himself. The boys should have used that as a boost early on but we didn’t do that. Even when we won possession, the first pass was slow and just made problems for ourselves.
“We wanted to win tonight and extend the gap between the top two and third but now the competition is very much still on. We’re still top of the group but we need to react quickly and show our real quality in the next game.”