Old Trafford held no joy for Nick Haycock and the Development Squad on Monday night as they went down to a 2-1 defeat in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.

All the goals were scored before half-time as a crazy 46-second spell saw Matthias Fanimo cancel out Michael Keane's 33rd minute opener, only for Andreas Pereira to score straight from the restart with a wonderful effort.

The Hammers pushed in vain for an equaliser in the second half, leaving Haycock frustrated with the timing of his side's defensive lapse.

He told West Ham TV: "Any time in football is not a good time to concede a goal, but particularly early doors, on the stroke of half-time and at the end of games because it puts you on the back foot.

"We had to pick them up at half-time and I just felt at times that we were a bit in awe, not of the players we were against, but the occasion.

"I just thought we were a little bit too nice and we've got to be a little bit more aggressive and press the ball a little bit sharper than we did. Had we done that, you could see when we stole it off them we had chances to open them up at the back."

Haycock named several of the Club's regular Under-18 players in the squad for the game against the Red Devils with Kyle Knoyle, Lewis Page and Kieran Bywater all making the starting XI.

Moses Makasi and Jamie Harney were also on the substitutes' bench as Haycock made good on his plans to push the Club's younger players up a level.

"There's a plan in the Academy at the minute, we had a great first part of the season but the whole plan now is, as you saw with the Under-16 team Steve Potts put out over the weekend, we're pushing players on a level now.

"Challenging them to play at an older age group to see what they're capable of because we've got a belief that we have to get boys playing league football earlier than they currently are.

"The U21 league for me now is for 18, 19-year-olds and the odd 16 or 17-year-old that is capable of advancing themselves on."

The Development Squad don't have long to dwell on defeat at Old Trafford as they get straight back into league action when they host Southampton at Rush Green on Friday night.

Haycock is looking for a reaction from his team as they look to get their first win of 2014 against the Saints.

"You win football matches and you have to go out and win the next one. You lose football matches and you have to look at the things that you want to do better.

"Even though you want to win every game you play, I asked the question in there 'What did you learn tonight?' and if they can come out with the answers rather than me telling them then they're learning the game.

"The big thing for me on Friday night will be how they get after the ball. I want them to be a little bit quicker, sharper and aggressive when we haven't got the ball.

"If they can get those things right then you'll start to see these players playing the game we know they can play on a more consistent basis."