Radhi Jaïdi had nothing but praise for his young charges after they got their Checkatrade Trophy campaign up and running with a 1-0 win over Cambridge United on Tuesday night.
Southampton endured an aerial bombardment in either half from their senior League 2 counterparts but stood tall to deliver a performance of confidence and composure.
“It is a great result, and I am really proud of the team,” coach Jaïdi said. “We were on the backfoot for the first 15 minutes under the high balls but the boys stood up to the challenge very well.
“As soon as we got our foot in the game, our confidence grew, we lifted our tempo, exploited their weaknesses out wide and started to make chances. My only criticism would be that he could have used the ball better once we had won it back.”
Saints had Alfie Jones to thank on the night, the skipper’s glancing header from Callum Slattery’s corner the deciding moment in a tightly contested affair and it was a touch that had the boss beaming.
“Alfie made a great late run across the front post and connecting brilliantly with the header; it was a super delivery from Callum Slattery to set him up too. We’re strong on our set pieces at the moment.”
For Radhi though, “desire” was the key to Southampton’s maiden Checkatrade success of the season, embodied by a rock-solid defensive showing, particularly in the second half.
“Cambridge pushed us back deep into our own half at times but we showed great desire and team spirit to pull through the difficult moments of the game.
“Alex McCarthy didn’t really have many saves to make in the end and that is a credit to how well we defended, particularly late on. We didn’t give them any chance of an equaliser. This is great experience for us and I hope this consistency continues.”