Paul Hardyman wants to see Southampton Under-18s continue their defensive solidity when the young Saints return to action at Fulham tomorrow.
Hardyman’s side began the new season with two high-scoring affairs, against Aston Villa and Swansea, in stark contrast to the 1-0 defeat and 1-0 win that followed against Chelsea and Arsenal respectively.
The coach has been encouraged by his players’ appetite to improve the defensive side of their game, and hopes Saints can continue where they left off before the international break.
“We’ve gone away to Arsenal and given a really solid, professional performance to keep a clean sheet, which doesn’t happen in youth football very often, and to score in the last few minutes to win the game was great for the lads,” he said.
“We’ve told them that they’ve set their standards now, so we’ve got to build on that.
“We conceded too many goals, so there was more of a focus on the defending side of it. I’ve asked the boys, ‘how can we concede seven goals in the first two games and one in the next two?’
“That shows it’s a team ethic and there’s a profile of what we want, because we want to be hard to beat and have that winning mentality.
“It’s something you want to focus on: defenders doing their jobs, but strikers doing theirs as well, because you want to defend from the front.”