The Big Interview - Steve Potts

Steve Potts was left deflated after a goal five minutes before the end of extra-time sent his West Ham United U18s out of the FA Youth Cup at the hands of Accrington Stanley.

The Hammers had forced the third-round tie into an extra period when Jamie Harney headed home from a corner in the 92nd minute to cancel out Nathan Webb's acrobatic 49th-minute effort.

Potts' side dominated the game throughout, especially in extra-time, only for Max Hazeldine to net a 116th-minute winner for the hosts. The manager says the players know where they went wrong.

Read the minute-by-minute report of the FA Youth Cup match here

Steve, can you start by giving us your reaction to the defeat?

"Obviously I'm disappointed, very disappointed. I just said to the boys, overall, we've probably only got ourselves to blame. We didn't really do enough to go and win the game like we have been doing. In previous games we've constantly asked questions of their defenders and their goalkeeper and I just felt that against Accrington we didn't quite do enough of that. We didn't hurt the opposition enough when we could have done and when you don't get yourselves in front it becomes difficult for you.

"They worked really hard, they were difficult to break down, they got behind the ball and got their tackles in. It was like their cup final it was like classic FA Cup stuff with a lower-league side against a Premier League club. They battled away and we found it difficult really. It was probably one of the more difficult games we've had in terms of trying to open up the opposition."

What lessons can your team learn from the defeat?

"It was a big occasion in that it's a cup game, an evening match in a stadium and I think that the biggest thing is maybe showing that bit of composure with the ball. We were a little bit rash, I thought. We didn't play like we can play. I know we can do a lot better than that and we've seen it for most of the season from the boys, but it just didn't happen for us. We'll go away, look at it and hopefully the boys can learn from it and make sure nothing like that happens in the future, that's the main thing for them to take out of it."

When you equalised did you feel as though you would go on and win it in extra-time?

"Yeah, I did. We got a late goal and we were starting to threaten towards the end of the game. We got the goal and then, you think, with 30 minutes to go the game is going to open up and they're not going to get around the pitch so well and the game would open up in certain positions. It did, to be fair, and I thought we were starting to look like the team that were getting on top but I always thought in the back of my mind that a set-piece could hurt us and that's how it proved.

"It was sloppy, really, our marking on the corner and their player has had a free header at the back post and no one's really challenged the person who put the ball in the back of the net. It's about having bright minds. I know that the boys are tired but that's what cost us at the end of the day - a set-piece at the end of the game."

The boys kept going right until the end of normal time to get the equaliser and even when they scored the second goal the team created a couple more chances. Were you pleased with the way the players fought to the death?

"I can't fault the way the players kept going and going but all round we didn't play like we can play. I think they gave the effort. You expect that from the boys and they always give that but just that little bit of quality was lacking and that's where we came unstuck. We've got to learn to play against teams that are just going to sit back and give you no gaps to play in. We've got to move them about and hopefully open the opposition up a bit better than we did on Tuesday."

How do you pick the team up and bounce back from this?

"It's going to be a hard few days for the boys now, coming in training they're going to be really flat, I know that. It's happened before, as you always get the odd upset. This time it's happened to us and we've just got to move on now. It's not going to stop them being a first-team player. It's a game in the FA Youth Cup. It'll hurt, it'll hurt us all but they've got to take it on the chin and hopefully get the positives out of it and push on to where they want to go."