Fleming hails defensive strength

By SFC Media Sat 17 Feb Aston Villa v Saints
Photo by James Bridle | Craig Fleming

Southampton's youngsters continued their unstoppable Under-18s Premier League run with yet another victory on the road at Aston Villa on Saturday, and coach Craig Fleming was delighted with his side's ability to grind out maximum points from a hard-fought tie.

Saints' teenage cohort were put under pressure early on, but sealed the victory courtesy of a special finish from 16-year-old Sean Brennan, who evaded the offside trap before deftly lobbing the ball over Villa's onrushing goalkeeper.

The victory means that Fleming's side keep pace with Arsenal and Chelsea at the top of the table, while the clean sheet is also Saints' eighth shutout of the league campaign.

"It was quite scrappy, on a very tight pitch but I thought we dealt with that well," Fleming commented. "We ground out three points and Sean took his goal very well.

"Chances were quite scarce, we maybe had one more two half chances more. Sean showed some good composure with the finish that has won us the game.

"We looked strong defensively, Villa huffed and puffed but I thought we were comfortable. Christoph [Klarer] has been solid throughout, and [Adam] Parkes did everything required of him.

"We didn't have much space to be able to get our regular passing game going. It was just one of those scruffy days where you have to dig in to find a result.

"We wanted to be fair to the lads who have performed so well in recent weeks, in terms of team selection, and now we look forward to next week against Swansea."

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