Joey Barton believes Bristol Rovers showed ‘naivety’ as his side lost 3-1 to West Ham U21s in the EFL Trophy at the Memorial Stadium.
A penalty from Callum Marshall and a brace from George Earthy saw the East London academy side secure victory in the southwest.
The main positive for the home side was that captain Sam Finley found the back of the net on his return to the starting 11.
“It’s disappointing because you always believe your players are good enough”, said Barton.
“There’s a reason we’ve recruited what we’ve recruited in the summer. When you play in these type of competitions, if you’re not in the starting 11 , it’s a great opportunity to show the manager what you can do.
“In the Cheltenham game a few of the lads did that and there was a good performance, but tonight some lads have missed an opportunity to further their cause.”
This evening’s defeat is Rovers’ fourth in their opening 10 matches of the season and manager Barton will be hoping for a turn around in results as we move into the Autumn.
With Wigan visiting on Saturday, and a trip to Peterborough the following weekend, the Gas have some tough games coming up in an attempt to bounce back following Tuesday evening’s defeat.
“There was a bit of naivety on our part and it had that kind of smell of last year on it,” he added.
“We are fortunate as we were able to rotate a little bit and Wigan come on Saturday, so we want to give a good account of ourselves with our strongest team out.”
Barton made nine changes to the team that started in last Saturday’s 2-0 win away at Shrewsbury, where Rovers picked up their second league win of the season.
Both scorers John Marquis and Aaron Collins were dropped to the bench for tonight’s match and Barton certainly could have done with their fire power in this evening’s defeat.
“There’s lots of lads who started the match tonight who should be really disappointed. They’ve been frustrated in recent weeks that they haven’t been in the starting 11, or some of them not even making the squad.
“In response to that you have to go and perform and show me why you know you should be in our match day 11.
“It makes my job for picking the team on Saturday a hell of a lot easier than it was last Saturday.”