Mauricio Pellegrino hailed the potential of first-team debutant Michael Obafemi after the 17-year-old was thrust into the heat of battle against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Obafemi, a free-scoring striker at youth level, was introduced in the 82nd minute with Saints and Spurs locked at 1-1 at St Mary’s.
The teenager had the chance to write his own fairy-tale finish, but was unable to connect sweetly with a low cross from Dušan Tadić in a lively cameo.
“He’s a really fast player and his speed is his most important quality,” said Pellegrino of the young prospect.
“He is also a good finisher, and I observed that their back four was really high and he could have some chances.
“He was there and he was really close, but it’s still the beginning of his career and he has to grow a lot.
“To us, we have had a good history with our home-grown players and Michael is one more.”
Pellegrino was quick to praise the Saints supporters for sticking with his team in a nail-biting end-to-end finale.
“When the people see that everybody is committed and that you want to do your best, and even when you are in trouble you want to win the game, I think the people are grateful.
“We have to be proud that our fans, even in a difficult situation, are behind us.”