KEVIN Ball admits Sunderland’s Under-21s “let themselves down” after a second half collapse against Aston Villa.
The Black Cats leaked four goals inside 12 minutes condemned 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, and especially not very quickly.
“What we saw yesterday was an inevitability where they scored one and we were going to get beat two and then they scored two and we were going to beat three.
“When the scores were goalless, we had some good opportunities where certain people should have been more unselfish.
“If that had been the case, we could have gone ahead in the game which puts a different shape on it.
“We didn’t do that and it could have been five or six in the end.
“That’s the most disappointing thing if I’m honest.”