Sunderland under-18’s coach Paul Bryson felt his players’ mistakes were punished by a clinical Middlesbrough side following their 8-2 defeat at the Academy of Light.
The Black Cats held their own early on in the first half and drew level through Ryan Leonard shortly after falling behind, only to go into half time 4-1 down following expert finishing from the visitors.
Connor Slack grabbed a second for Bryson’s side early on in the second period but Boro responded with a flurry of goals to round off a morning that Sunderland will hope to learn from.
Bryson acknowledged Boro’s strength after the final whistle, saying: “Middlesbrough are a really strong side, and we’re in a position where we need to look at players so we had to play four trialists today.
“Nothing against them but the team was a little bit disjointed as a result, we also played an under 15 and two under 16s and it was a big ask for them today.
“They got punished for the mistakes that they made individually and collectively and Middlesbrough were really clinical, that was the story of it.”
Bryson has had to content with a huge number of injuries and absences within his side in recent fixtures, handing opportunities to players from younger age groups as a result – but feels Saturday’s result is one they must learn from.
“Some of the young lads got punished for their mistakes and if they learn from it then that’s great, but the scoreline wasn’t good viewing,” he continued.
“What we said at half time is can we win the second half and it’s going to be like that because we are on the lookout for players.
“You want the young players to gain that experience playing in the under-18s, but if one or two of them aren’t ready then it makes it hard for everybody else so we’ll just have to patch it up and see where we go.”