Horseman: Performance is the main focus

By SFC Media Thu 06 Feb Nottm Forest v Saints
Photo by Isabelle Field | Dave Horseman

Southampton Under-23s coach Dave Horseman has said the performance must be the main focus, as his side travel to Nottingham Forest in the Premier League Cup on Friday (7pm GMT).

It’s the second game of the week for a new-look Under-23s side, who netted a late winner at home to Wolves in Premier League 2 on Monday night.

Oludare Olufunwa headed home the only goal of the game in the 85th minute, lifting Saints up to 11th in the PL2 standings.

On the game Horseman said: “It was a really important win in terms of confidence. We’ve played really well over recent weeks and probably not got the results that we wanted.”

“We probably didn’t play as well as we hoped, but showed a bit of grit and determination and, at times, some real defensive resolve to keep them out.”

“We probably didn’t play as well as we hoped, but showed a bit of grit and determination and, at times, some real defensive resolve to keep them out.”

The side who faced Wolves handed debuts to new signing Jacob Maddox and Under-18s centre-back Zuriel Otseh-Taiwo, who played up an age group for the first time this season.

On the change of personnel, Hardyman said: “We had Harry [Lewis] and Jacob who haven’t played much football recently. We had Zuriel who made his debut for the Under-23s and did great at 16-years-old. We had five scholars on the pitch, we had a right mix.

“I think predominately from now until the end of the season it will be an extremely young group. Regularly four or five scholars which is great for the pathway.

Jacob Maddox made his debut for the Under-23s on Monday night.

“We’ve got talent boys so there’s no excuses there. We might get one or two coming back from injury, maybe one that needs some game time from the first team.”

Friday’s opponents Nottingham Forest currently sit top of the Professional Development League, with twelve wins from 19 games and only two defeats and is the first game in a busy month for Horseman’s side.

“We’ve got an incredible fixture pile up towards the end of the season and our squad is getting smaller. That’s going to be a real challenge, but a good one because it’s like a Christmas period for the under-18s and under-23s, which they wouldn’t have experienced before.

“Forest are a pretty good team, think they showed that when they played here. Again we want to win every game but performances have got to be the main focus. The better the performance is, the more chance we’ve got of winning."

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