A five-star performance from Southampton’s Under-23s saw them triumph 5-1 over Sunderland at St Mary’s to clinch Premier League 2’s second spot on Monday evening.
The win, confidently delivered, draws Saints level on points with champions Wolves, who have siezed the title by virtue of a favourable goal difference.
Nevertheless, Radhi Jaïdi was delighted to round off a particularly positive year with another assured performance - one that will stand them in good stead heading into the play-offs.
Saints, buoyed by tonight's result, will now host Aston Villa in their quest for Division One football next season, and have also secured a home draw for the consequent play-off final, should they get there.
“This year has been amazing for us in so many aspects. We stepped up the level,” the Under-23s boss reflected.
“I can say players have been involved with the first-team and we've challenged at the top of the table all season.
“It shows the depth of the squad and the quality we have. The staff have been committed 100 per cent to our objectives this year.
“We've pushed ourselves and really sacrificed. They really believe in our journey.
“The last few weeks have been fantastic; seeing the boys so driven and determined. They've improved so much.
“The impact of the players who came on tonight was also impressive and I'll say now we're a contender. A great opportunity to learn from, no matter the outcome.”