Southampton Under-21s coach Martin Hunter was happy with his side’s determined display as they picked up a 0-0 draw with their Chelsea counterparts at St Mary’s.
Saints could have won the game, but Sam Gallagher skied a late penalty before Tammy Abraham almost claimed the points for Chelsea at the death, only to see his shot come back off the post.
With four Under-18s and 15-year-old Jake Vokins in the starting line-up, Hunter was happy with the way they kept Chelsea’s attacking threats at bay.
“Overall I’m very pleased with the performance. We were very disciplined but perhaps too deep at times,” Hunter told youtube.com/southamptonfc.
“That’s when Chelsea made it difficult for us, but when you look at the ages of the players, which is important, and the experiences they’re getting, it was very pleasing.
“They had one or two older players in their defence. We started the game well and Sam had a chance early doors, but they grew into the game more and more.
“I was a bit disappointed in the first half with the number of times we regained the ball and then gave it away cheaply. I thought that was better towards the end.
“In the second half it was backs to the wall, we were deep at times, but certainly did well to cope with a lot of things that were thrown at us.”
Hunter was pleased with the efforts of his young defence, aided by a hard-working midfield display from the likes of Harrison Reed, Armani Little and Thomas O’Connor.
“The two centre backs were very good, I thought Jake Vokins was excellent again – we’ve got high hopes for him – and I thought Dom Gape was very strong,” Hunter said.
“The defenders have a good understanding in and around the penalty area. The three midfield players worked hard. I thought Harry was very disciplined and intercepted a lot of passes.
“We needed a bit more upfront, perhaps. We discussed a lack of quality in the final third. We tried to make too many killer passes instead of having an extra pass to open the game up,” Hunter concluded.