Dave Horseman reiterated his belief in his side ahead of “one of the toughest tests we’ve had in a long time,” as Southampton Under-23s travel to Liverpool in Premier League 2 on Monday night (kick-off 7PM).
The game comes a week after Saints went head-to-head with the blue half of Merseyside in a tight 1-1 draw with Everton at Staplewood.
Lucas Defise opened the scoring for Saints after good play by the returning Dan N’Lundulu on the left wing during the second half, but the lead was short lived with the Toffees equalising two minutes later.
Horseman said there were plenty of positives from the point gained at Staplewood last Monday, something that will help them going into the trip to Liverpool.
“After watching it back we are definitely playing a more expansive brand of football,” said Horseman. “we’re trying to play out under a bit more pressure, and that’s probably the area where we’ve made the biggest strides. We’re getting far more success playing from the back third and through the middle third successfully.
The other bit we showed was far more mental strength, far more toughness and aggression when we’re defending to try and stop the ball from going in our net.
“Which has been a bit of a problem from time to time, that’s as a team not necessarily as individuals. So when we’re watching it back we found countless amounts of good clips demonstrating those behaviours.”
Dave HorsemanThis will be one of the toughest tests we've had in a long time, but we've got a lot of belief in our players here."
Southampton FC Under-23s coach
Liverpool come into the game having not won any of their last three Premier League 2 outings, but Horseman reiterated the quality the academy possesses.
“We’re expecting a real tough task, as everyone has seen on Sky they could be playing some of the young lads that beat Everton the other night.
“Liverpool play very similar to the first team, narrow front three, high full-backs, intensity to press. Which is a brilliant challenge with where we’re at in trying to play out because it will really test how much we have improved.
“I think you have to give Liverpool massive respect as a club and as a academy, no matter what team they have out they’re an outstanding team with outstanding players. With a real forward momentum and a belief in the way they’re trying to play across every age group.
“This will be one of the toughest tests we’ve got in a long time, but we’ve got a lot of belief in our players here. We’ve got some super players who need to be tested at the highest level to be ready for our first team. So this will be a tough one but one we’re looking forward to.”