BURNLEY Under-23 boss Steve Stone hailed his side's passing performance in the defeat to Sheffield Wednesday as the best he has seen from the Clarets' youngsters.

But he still wants further improvement after Burnley were beaten 1-0 at Curzon Ashton's Tameside Stadium.

The Clarets had the better of the chances but were unable to convert them while the Owls scored from their only real opportunity to take the points in the Professional Development League encounter.

"I asked the lads before the game to make sure that we start to pass the ball," said Stone.

"I've been here for two months now and I've been a little bit disappointed with the quality when handling the ball. We've had to train them over time to try to get them to handle a football.

"They've mixed it up a bit, they've tried to go long at times to get in behind and they passed it really well in the first half.

"They were really difficult conditions and that was the best they'd passed the ball in any conditions.

"I was delighted by that because we're developing footballers who have to be technically good to handle a football in the Premier League."

And Stone wants his young charges to feel comfortable in possession as he seeks to develop talent able to step in to Sean Dyche's first team.

"You need to be able to handle a ball at this level and I've been drumming that in to them," he said.

"They're all good athletes but they need that side of it.

"A thing with this team as well you can see that you can have a load of chances and you need more than a load to score goals.

"The worrying signs are that you get a lot of chances and we don't convert enough. We created a lot from the wide areas in terms of balls coming in to the box and nobody is even near it.

"There is loads to work on, as there always is with young lads. It's a good learning curve for all of them."

Stone picked out midfield pair Josh Benson, who travelled with the Burnley first team for the game with Arsenal last month but didn't make the matchday 18, and Mark Howarth for their displays against Wednesday.

"There were some really good performances in the first half," Stone said.

"I was really pleased with Mark Howarth in the middle of the park. He and Josh (Benson) were excellent. I

"I've been demanding more from Mark, I've been really tough on him.

"Josh can handle me being tough but I wasn't so sure that Mark could.

"It was great that they both got on the ball and tried to pass it."