Southampton Under-18s coach Craig Fleming was pleased for his young side after they battled back to beat Chelsea 3-2 at Staplewood Campus.
Saints took the lead only to fall 2-1 behind before staging a late turnaround to see off the Blues, and Fleming felt that all three points were their reward for sticking at it.
“I thought we played really well,” he told saintsfc.co.uk after the game.
“The things we keep working on from throughout pre-season and at the start of this season have improved every week. I thought we performed pretty well last week and didn’t get the rub of the green, and today I thought we played equally as well but got that rub of the green when we needed it.”
Saints had led 1-0 before Chelsea turned the game on its head just after half-time, and Fleming praised his team’s showing to get back into it.
“They all performed really well against very, very good opposition,” he said.
“The most pleasing thing was the things we’ve been working really hard in training on they did them and continued to do them even at 2-1 down too and got their just desserts for that.”
Saints made it 2-2 from the penalty spot after Siph Mdlalose was brought down inside the area with just over ten minutes remaining and Tyreke Johnson converted from 12 yards before also finding the winner with a fine individual strike.
“I was pleased for the players because we all see how hard they’re working and training and how hard they trained in pre-season to learn and improve every day,” said Fleming.
“If you keep not getting what you deserve out of games then you can get a bit dispirited, so I was just delighted for them today.
“To get the result as well and against Chelsea is a great day for us,” the U18s coach added. “Chelsea were very good in possession and have got a lot of good individuals who are internationals, but I thought we matched them, and in adversity too, as we lost Dan N’Lundulu early on through injury.
“We have a couple of players missing so we didn’t have a centre forward to bring on and we have had to switch things around a little bit with Tyreke going up top even though he hasn’t really played there, and I thought we were tremendous. He’s a real threat going forward too is Tyreke, he’s got those attributes. I thought it was a good team display though, so I’m not going to call out individuals.”