COLCHESTER United head coach Steve Ball admits there were no excuses for his side’s below-par performance against West Ham United under-21s, in the EFL Trophy.

The U’s were beaten 1-0 by the Hammers’ youngsters in their Group A match, at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Ball made eight changes to his starting line-up for the game, with only Noah Chilvers, Miles Welch-Hayes and Courtney Senior retaining their places in the starting line-up from last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Barrow.

However, the U’s boss admits it was a disappointing all-round display, after Conor Coventry’s second-half strike won it for the Hammers.

Ball said: “Three players from Saturday (at Barrow) started but I don’t want to use that as an excuse.

“It wasn’t good enough from start to finish and the lads who came in were all round not good enough.

“I guess the positive was Luke Norris playing 70 minutes and getting some fitness up.

“But I’m not going to coat it up and say it’s a small competition and we’ve made eight changes.

“That’s not me and it just wasn’t good enough.

“I’m obviously disappointed.

“It’s really important to me and the football club that standards are kept.

“I know there were many changes but it doesn’t matter the personnel; I believe I have a good competitive group this year and I’m really disappointed with some of our decisions in possession.

“We looked really poor on the ball all round and that was the theme of the night.

“We kept turning the ball over and giving it away relentlessly and if you do that against a good young side like West Ham you’re going to get hurt and we did.”

Colchester were disappointing in possession against West Ham, whose youngsters were energetic and technically competent throughout.

It resulted in a 1-0 defeat for the U’s, who have now lost their opening two Group A games in the competition, ahead of their final match against Southend United in November.

Ball added: “The messages were really strong about how important the competition is to us, both in training and before the game.

“We allowed a good young side to dictate large parts of the game.

“We came back into it in the last five minutes and had some good areas.

“But we can’t accept that – we need much more than that.

“Everybody sees how we’re playing this year and if we don’t retain the ball, then we’re struggling.

“I’m not going to resort to going in direct but our quality has to be so much better than that.

“Every game that anybody plays for me, I’m going to analyse their performances in depth and I will do that.”