Ralph Hasenhüttl praised young midfielder Callum Slattery after he made his Southampton debut in the 2-2 draw at Derby County in the Emirates FA Cup third round.
The 19-year-old was handed a start as Saints switched to a 4-2-2-2 formation against the Championship side, with youngster Marcus Barnes also coming off the bench for his debut on 72 minutes.
Hasenhüttl has already shown on numerous occasions that he is willing to give the club’s youngsters an opportunity and Slattery was the latest to impress the Austrian.
“It was important they can show how far they are in their development. I think Slattery had a very good game and he was very busy in the centre,” the Saints boss reflected.
“I think he won a lot of balls from this position and also has the technique to look in front and give the last pass. I was happy with his performance and he showed he is always an alternative for me.”
Attentions now switch back to Premier League action with a trip to Leicester City next up for Saints.
And following a busy fixture schedule, Hasenhüttl says he is looking forward to having more time in between games to work with his squad.
“We will now take two days rest because the guys have invested a lot in the last few weeks. It would be better if we could have taken the next step (in the FA Cup) and not have one game more in January.
“The fundamentals are built and now we have the chance to take the weeks to work on details, which we have to.”