Pompey Academy’s youngsters are suffering from burnout.
That was the frank admission from coach Mikey Harris after his side fell to a crushing 6-0 loss in Merit League 1 division against Plymouth earlier today.
The boys are suffering from burnoutPompey Academy coach Mikey Harris
The Blues made the trip to the Devon side for the third time this term looking to complete a hat-trick of wins at the home of the Pilgrims and erase the memory of their 7-0 humbling at Exeter a fortnight ago.
A 4-0 FA Youth Cup win and 4-2 Youth Alliance League south-west division success over Plymouth already this campaign meant that spirits were high as Harris’ side headed to a previously-happy hunting ground.
But any hopes of claiming a memorable treble were erased as the Academy endured a second successive afternoon to forget.
The cause – an unprecedented number of fixtures, compounded by the reintroduction of the Blues’ reserve team, that has seen some of the youngsters play nearly 60 games this season.
Harris said: ‘The boys are suffering from burnout.
‘That is completely what it is.
‘The boys are being asked to play Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
‘We were working it out and some of them have been involved in nearly 60 games this season.
‘Quite frankly that is too many games for lads who are developing physically.’
Far from pick fault in the performances of his defeated players, Harris backed the youngsters’ attitude, effort and work-rate in trying circumstances.
He said: ‘To be fair to the lads, I am not going to criticise them.
‘They did everything they could today and gave everything they had – they just didn’t have enough, it is as simple as that.
‘It wasn’t a case of not trying.
‘To their credit, even at 6-0 down they were still trying to do the right thing.
‘I am not going to fault them.
‘It’s a big challenge for them to mentally deal with this now and kick on.
‘But it is clear that what is being asked of them is too much at the moment.’
POMPEY ACADEMY: Bass, Rwakarambwe (Davies, 46), Haunstrup, Granger, Yates (Joseph-Buadi 46), Widdrington (McDowell, 46), May, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Scutt, Haitham, Sayers