Jaïdi on play-off hopes

By SFC Media time Thu 02 May Saints v Aston Villa
Photo by James Bridle | Radhi Jaïdi

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, having to contest the Premier League 2 play-offs after leading the table for so long, but that’s the situation Southampton’s Under-23s find themselves in, as they gear up for Friday’s meeting with Aston Villa.

Saints lost out on top spot to Wolves earlier this week, by virtue of goal difference; the fine margins between automatic promotion, and having to earn it the hard way.

Nevertheless, Saints are in high spirits after rounding off their regular season with a 5-1 thrashing of Sunderland at St Mary’s three days ago; a result that will breed plenty of confidence among Jaïdi’s ever-improving youngsters.

"We're very excited, we can't wait," the Under-23s boss began. "This game is all our hard work over the course of this season coming together.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: Will Smallbone takes a penalty for Southampton FC and scores celebrating with Alfie Jones (right)  during the Premier League 2 match between Southampton FC and Sunderland pictured at St Mary's Stadium on April 29, 2019 in Southampton, England. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Will Smallbone and Alfie Jones celebrate scoring in the 5-1 win over Sunderland

"We're all feeling positive, confident, and ready to perform. Fine margins have meant that we lost top position to Wolves, but the play-offs are another opportunity.

"The boys have come far, they've matured a lot. Everyone has learnt a lot this season.

"We needed a good result and a good performance in our final league game and the boys delivered that.

"Five goals is the best response from the disappointment of not being able to win the league. It shows the strong mentality we've got to go again.

"We know Aston Villa well; this is a huge challenge, but one we're ready for."

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