U21 REACTION: Hunter happy with a point

By SFC Media time Mon 23 Feb B Team

Martin Hunter believes his side faced their toughest test of the season so far when they hosted Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night.

The 0-0 draw at St Mary’s kept both sides up at the top end of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League, though Hunter’s side did have to dig deep at times in the second half to keep Spurs at bay.

Saints had some chances of their own, though, but Technical Director Hunter was happy to take a point from what was a fast-paced encounter.

“As a game of football, in terms of technical stuff and tactical stuff, chatting to the players afterwards, that’s the hardest game we’ve had,” he told Southampton’s official YouTube channel.

“The tempo throughout the 90 minutes was very high, Tottenham were a very good team and in the second half and we found it tough, so to come away with a point is pleasing. We don’t ever want to play for a point, but that was a positive for me.

“In the first half we played some good stuff, as did Tottenham, and had several chances, so we’ve worked their keeper better than Paulo (Gazzaniga)’s been worked in the first half. 

“The second half was a different kettle of fish. Obviously we’ve had to make two substitutions which changed the dynamics of the back four, and then I had to change the shape of the midfield because of the amount of possession they were having – they were causing us some problems.

“So they coped with that, and it was pleasing to get a point.”

Jake Sinclair and Ryan Seager were among the Southampton players to have had a number of decent opportunities to snatch an opener for Saints, but found a resolute Spurs backline – marshalled by South African international Bongani Khumalo – in their way.

Tottenham rarely threatened Argentinian goalkeeper Gazzaniga’s goal, aside from a couple of long-range efforts, and Hunter is pleased that his side will now go into the Under-21 Cup semi-final with Derby County next week on the back of two successive victories.

“I think he’s had two saves to make in the game – one of them was a good free-kick and one of them was a strike late doors from outside the box, but apart from that he wasn’t really troubled,” he said of gloveman Gazzaniga.

“That’s two good performances now. We’d like to win next week – if we play like that, we’ve got a bit more guile, a bit more cleverness in terms of our passing – then there’s no reason why we cant do that.”

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