Mark Hughes was to left to rue the opening period against Manchester City after he saw his side fall to a 6-1 defeat at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The hosts raced into a 3-0 lead after just 18 minutes courtesy of a Wesley Hoedt own goal and goals from Sergio Aguero and David Silva. Saints pulled one back through Danny Ings from the penalty spot, but never recovered.
“We’re disappointed with the opening period as that’s when the game was lost. We were never able to get a foothold in the game and didn’t have an opportunity to clear our heads,” Hughes reflected.
“We were a little bit, I’ll say the word milky, in terms of our defensive work and there’s times where you have got to be really aggressive at both ends.
“If you’re trying to score a goal you’ve got to be aggressive and if you’re trying to defend your goal you’ve got to be really aggressive and put your blocks in to make sure people can’t keep the ball alive in poor areas for you as an opposition player.
“In my view, they were able to do that too easily in terms of keeping the ball alive, keep moving around and given the quality they have you fully expect them to dispatch the chances they created.”
“We had a response and got back to 3-1 but goals at the end of the half and close to full-time gave the scoreline a disappointing look but you have to say given the chances they had it’s probably a fair reflection.
“I thought second-half we were better and made a better go of it. We understood we had to work harder and be more aggressive in our running and challenges to remain in the game. We created a couple of good chances that may have got us a couple of goals but we were never going to win it after the opening period.”