Fleming wants Saints' youngsters to be hard to beat

By SFC Media time Fri 29 Jan Club

As Southampton Under-18s prepare to welcome Norwich City, Craig Fleming says their previous outing against the Canaries has typified their season so far.

Saints, who drew 2-2 with Fleming’s former club when the two sides met back in October at the Colney Training Centre, will be hoping to bounce back after a late defeat to West Ham United last weekend.

Fleming felt his side were much tougher to beat in that clash with the Hammers, and he’s hoping for more of the same at the Staplewood Campus this weekend.

“That game is a point in question. From what I’ve seen since I’ve been at the club, academy games are like that, with lots of goals and chances,” Fleming told youtube.com/southamptonfc.

“That’s not how it is when you step up. You need to grind out results, be hard to beat, be resilient. We dominated that game, but it was one of those where we weren’t clinical enough.

“We’ve worked all season on being harder to beat and they were on Saturday. It was a last-minute error, but when you’re dealing with young players you can handle that.

“In previous games we haven’t tracked runners or made tackles and done the dirty side of the game. On Saturday we did and it was a good performance.”

A clash with the Canaries is one Fleming always looks forward to, having spent over a decade with the club. “I spent a lot of my career there – 11 years as a player,” he added.

“It’s always nice to see some old faces and people that I worked with.”

With just three games left of the regular season for Saints’ youngsters, Fleming says more and more opportunities will be given for players to move up through the age groups.

“It’s that time of year where players get bumped up,” he added. “A lot of our boys are now involved with the Under-21s, which is good.

“We’re starting to take the Under-16s in training and into games. That will only increase as the games go on towards the end of the season.”

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