Southampton Under-18s host their counterparts from Chelsea, at Staplewood Campus, on Saturday morning in the Under-18 Premier League.
Craig Fleming’s young side started their campaign last weekend with a 4-1 reverse at Tottenham, and they now welcome one of the strongest teams in the league for their first home game of the season.
Despite that setback against Spurs, Fleming feels his team are on track at this moment in time, with last Saturday’s scoreline a harsh one in north London.
“I was pleased,” he said of that game. “It sounds crazy, but there were times last year where we did take a bit of a thumping and it wasn’t nice, but no, that was a good performance from us last Saturday, as crazy as that sounds.
“There were a couple of freak goals in there and a penalty. We created a lot of chances, which we’ve been taking in pre-season, and unfortunately they weren’t taken in this game, but as I said a lot last year it’s about performance, and individually there were some very good performances throughout the team perhaps apart from the couple of freak ones that we conceded, but you take that out of it, and it was pretty decent.
“We limited them and I think they only had one more chance other than the ones they scored, whereas we created five or six very clear chances and I think if you do that in every game then we’ll certainly win more than we lose.”
Chelsea were winners of the south division last season, and got off to a fine start this term with a 3-2 victory over Fulham last weekend, but Fleming is looking forward to the challenge of taking on the young Blues (kick-off 11am BST).
“They’re a very good team,” he acknowledged. “They’ve got very good individual players and they’re a very good team, which has been shown by winning the Youth Cup for two years in a row, European trophies and they’ve won the league as well, so they’ve been the strongest team for a few years and it will be a fantastic test for us.
“They’ve got good strength in depth. They have a lot of players and a lot of good players with attacking threat, so all-round they’re a very strong unit.
“It’s good for us to be tested in that way at that level so it will be a good test for the boys which I think we’ll be up for.
“We’ll have a look at them, but we’ll just concentrate on us and we’ve got a certain way that we do things which will never change, so we’ll concentrate on what we can do and look to stop Chelsea both in and out of possession.”