Southampton Under-23s coach Dave Horseman hailed his team’s bravery in possession after the young Saints secured an impressive 2-0 victory over their Manchester City counterparts in Premier League 2.
Horseman’s side struck twice in the space of three first-half minutes at the Snows Stadium in Totton and restricted their visitors to few chances.
Callum Slattery calmly slotted home from the penalty spot in the 29th minute, before Christian Norton rifled in an excellent volley almost straight from the restart.
“The bit that’s most pleasing is the bravery to play,” Horseman said. “We’ve asked them for a few weeks now to play shorter at the back and through midfield.
“Although we haven’t got the results some of our performances deserved, it all came together tonight, and I thought we played some outstanding stuff against an outstanding team of really good individuals.
“What we showcased tonight is that we’ve got one or two – maybe more – who will definitely go close to our first team.”
Horseman felt scoring first gave the youngsters the lift they needed after a tricky spell of recent results, and praised the defensive effort that earned a first clean sheet since winning promotion from the second tier last term.
“The boys needed to get the first goal,” he added. “A few times recently we’ve been on top, conceded one and the confidence has been sucked out.
“Getting the first goal lifted everybody and we deserved it, because at that point in time we were really starting to really play between them and get behind their midfield.
“The way we took the goals was fantastic because there are a couple of things we’ve done in training recently, and it’s all come together tonight. It’s nice when that happens.
“The team organisation was excellent and we restricted them to a lot of long shots. Maybe at the end there were a couple that flashed across goal, but the boys were putting their bodies on the line at the end and they deserved the clean sheet.”