Fulham Under-21s boss Peter Grant was left feeling frustrated following a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City in the Barclays Premier League on Friday afternoon.
The Whites started slowly and Grant felt that was key to his side's defeat, stating: “Frustration is the biggest thing because we started too slow in the first half, there was not enough energy, not enough carefulness with our passing, which we pride ourselves on. Sometimes you've got to credit the opposition but today I can't, I just thought it was our boys giving the ball away too easily, making the wrong choices.”
Despite going 2-0 down after City scored a second from the spot, a decision Grant had no qualms about, Fulham got back into the tie through Ange-Freddy Plumain and it looked as if they would take something away from the fixture.
“In the second half we got a lift when we got the goal and I thought there was only going to be one winner, but we didn't take our chances,” continued Grant. “If you look at their three goals, they’re all errors. We lost the game in the first half not the second.”
The former Norwich City boss raised an eyebrow after seeing the opposition reduced to 10 men in the first half but had no complaints about Liam Donnelly seeing red for a second bookable offence late on.
“I was very surprised, the referee made errors which we all do,” said Grant. “I think he was left with no choice with Liam, he made two or three fouls after the yellow, so it was a red for persistent fouling.”
The Scotsman felt his side were perhaps overawed at their opponents, something that disappointed him: “We played against a jersey more than a team, that worried me a bit because you've got to go out six foot tall and not worry about the opposition, worry about how you play, never fear the opposition. If you fear the opposition, you'll never survive in football. After a talking to at half-time I thought we changed it, we did the simple things better.”
The defeat leaves Fulham near the bottom of a tight-looking table, but Grant highlighted the importance of developing the players.
“You always want to be top and if you win it you're delighted,” he added. “We've got a lot of good players in the squad that can be involved in the First Team and it's more important that they can do that quickly and how they can get there and stay there. It's more important to produce players and give the manager a headache in years to come. Of course, we want to win every game and I hate losing, but we’re not going to produce a team, we’re going to produce footballers.”