Ronald Koeman says supporters can play a real part in helping Southampton lift the Under-21 Premier League Cup trophy.
Martin Hunter’s side take on Blackburn Rovers in the second leg of the final at St Mary’s this evening, with the scores level after a 0-0 draw at Ewood Park last week.
And Koeman believes the young players will gain a lot from the pressure of playing a final in front of a big crowd.
“We will see what will happen with players from our squad being involved on Monday,” Koeman said. “But it’s nice for the club, it’s a final.
“In finals you play to win and not to lose. We hope the fans will give real support to the Under-21s to win the final.
“It’s important for young players, they need competition. The final is good for the pressure, you have to play under that pressure and that’s good for young players.”
Koeman has given players not involved in his first team the opportunity to get match sharpness with the Under-21s this season, and that could well be the case again on Monday night.
Harrison Reed and Matt Targett travelled with the squad on Saturday for the game at the Britannia Stadium against Stoke City, but having played the first leg last week against Rovers they could feature again at St Mary’s.
“Young players need to play every weekend,” Koeman added. “Some young players like Reed and Targett, if they don’t play for the first team they play for the Under-21s.
“That is good for their rhythm and their development. It’s important.”