Matt Gill refused to hide his disappointment after Norwich City's Under-23s were beaten 2-1 by Aston Villa at Carrow Road on Sunday.
The result extended City’s winless run to four games in all competitions, with Gill openly frustrated about the manner of the youngsters' defeat.
"I’m really disappointed," Gill told canaries.co.uk after the match.
"Very rarely do the lads get opportunities to impress the right people at the right times. At the end of the day, every single one of them is trying to get in our first team.
"We lacked a little bit of personality. Noone really wanted to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and really add some value to what the team was trying to do.
"It’s probably the first time this season I’ve felt we’ve lacked that little spark and little bit of courage."
After seeing his side go behind inside the opening 15 minutes for the third game in a row, Gill called on his players to strengthen their resolve.
"The lads need to have a better mentality in games," he added.
"Every game this season I’ve always felt we’ve had a chance at getting something but this time it didn’t particularly look that way. They lacked that aggression, that willingness to really grab the game.
"We lacked energy and it’s very disappointing. The lads need to realise very quickly that an opportunity to make the next step isn’t going to get handed to them.
"They need to make sure they’re grabbing the opportunity when it comes."