Kevin Ball

Ball mulls over Saints defeat

by Stuart Vose

U21 boss identifies areas to improve.

Sunderland’s development squad will be working on small refinements to their game after a good performance at Southampton ended in defeat.

The club’s under-21 side went down 3-2 on the south coast on Monday, with Jordan Laidler scoring twice in his side’s first game of the new Barclays U21 Premier League season.

Coach Kevin Ball described himself as pleased with the overall performance but says he is looking for improvement in specific areas.

“It was a good game of football with both teams trying to play the right way,” he explained.

“It was very, very hot down there which our lads might not have been used to. It was red hot – I’m talking factor 50.

“We got into our stride quite well but conceded a goal in a situation where I felt we had enough defenders behind the ball.

“We were protected in terms of numbers but no-one was prepared to go the whole hog to make sure they didn’t score.

“Jordan Laidler scored a lovely goal and we had the chances to be 3-1 up but ended up 3-1 down.

“After we pulled a goal back the game became stretched and Southampton counter-attacked at us, which was something I expected.

“I thought we deserved a draw at least. We’ll have a look at the video and tidy up a few aspects of our game.

“I was disappointed, but not because we didn’t play well, because we did. We just have a few things to work on.”