First team manager Neil Cox provided his reaction to iFollow Iron after a youthful team were beaten 3-0 by Manchester City Under-21s in the Papa John's Trophy group stages on Tuesday night.
The game saw professional debuts for Tom Collins, Finley Shrimpton and Dan Gallimore, while Harry Jessop and Cameron Wilson made their first senior starts.
Academy players Harrison Poulter, Jack Moore-Billam and Oliver Lobley also came off the substitutes' bench to make their first team debuts.
Cox said: "It was a disappointing result but there were some good displays from young boys who are trying to get into our first team. I had to make a lot of changes but I wanted to look at our other players, and people in different positions. I didn't want to sit in too much and defend, I wanted us to attack, but the problem was when we attacked we left the back door open and we were on the attack for their first two goals and got punished for them.
"The first was a great strike, while the second one we had the ball in the corner trying to score and conceded from it. I was disappointed we didn't score because he (Cameron Wilson, whose goal was chalked off in the 20th minute) was nowhere near offside and if we'd made it 1-1, it might have been a different sort of game. I was disappointed with that decision from the referee. He believes Cam touched it, which he did, but their right-back kept him three yards onside.
"We did alright. It was never going to be easy. The Premier League teams in this competition have improved a lot and are solid, strong and organised. They passed well, kept possession and hurt us with their penetration runs in from behind. I think our young boys will take a lot from it. If they want to go a higher level then they have to work even harder on the training ground and be more clinical.
"We got ourselves in good areas at times but their final touch, pass and finish was better than ours today.
"We're going to try and pass the ball this year and I think they can learn from Man City about the work rate off the ball. All my young players will look at this game, sit down, go through it and work on things that can help make them better."
Talking about the academy players making their debut, he said: "I could have started them, that's how close it was. (Academy manager) Tony Daws and the youth team have started off the season really well, and those lads have done well. It's an opportunity to show that there is a pathway and while I'm at this football club there will always be a chance as that's how I got my opportunity years ago."
Updating on injuries, he added: "Cam (Wilson) jarred his knee before half-time so we'll have to assess him but hopefully he's not too bad and it's more of a twist on the knee. At the minute we can't afford any more injuries as we have a lot in the building.
"There are bruises and tired bodies but the lads who played on Saturday seem to have got through it and we'll give them rest and recovery now before going again on Thursday morning."
See much more from Neil Cox on iFollow Iron.