KEVIN Ball admits Sunderland’s Under-21s “let themselves down” after a second-half collapse against Aston Villa.
The Black Cats were thumped 4-0 at the Academy of Light yesterday afternoon after four goals inside 12 minutes confined Ball’s side to a second defeat in three.
Although the result was a galling one, Ball was more infuriated by the attitude of some of his players.
Ball said: “There were too many who didn’t put the effort in that was needed to give you individually a good game, or more importantly help the team.
“It’s important we don’t get het up about the result, which we never have done.
“I’m more concerned about whether the players are prepared to take responsibility, like I have to as a coach.
“Have they done enough for themselves in the game?
“Sometimes when players turn around, you ask the question of them and they think they’ve done well. I sometimes find that difficult to take because are they being honest with themselves?
“Yesterday, I don’t think one or two of them were being honest and they let themselves down and their team-mates down. I can’t accept that.”
Ball admits the deficit could have been even greater after Sunderland collapsed when the first goal of Villa striker Michael Drennan’s hat-trick broke the deadlock.
“No one likes conceding goals, but there’s different ways of conceding goals,” he added.
“Sometimes someone will score an absolute worldie and you accept that and say fair play, that’s a fantastic goal.
“What you do look for whenever a goal is conceded against you is a reaction from the people on the pitch to not allow it to happen again.
“It could have been five or six in the end.”