COACH Robbie Stockdale admitted that Duncan Watmore’s absence was a contributory factor to Sunderland Under-21s’ defeat to Celtic, which leaves them needing to win at Everton in their final group game in the competition to progress to the knockout stages.
But he also believes the Black Cats youngsters were jaded after Sunday’s league defeat to Chelsea – evidenced by two second-half goals from Celtic first-teamer Leigh Griffiths, which wiped out David Ferguson’s opener at the Stadium of Light last night.
“I’m massively disappointed really,” said Stockdale.
“I think it was probably one game too far on the back of the Chelsea game and the travelling we did for that. It’s different to the first-team. It was a two-day trek for us.
“I think it all caught up with us against a Celtic team who were very well-organised and full of energy.
“We couldn’t keep up with them in the second half and that’s a good lesson for our players.
“If they go on to have careers in the game, that’s what there’ll have to expect – three games a week, week-in, week-out.
“We’re still in with a chance in the group, but we know we have to go to Everton and win.”
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