Southampton Under-21s coach Radhi Jaïdi believes the side’s defeat to Manchester United was a valuable learning experience for many of the players.
Saints came up against a fearsome Reds side in Monday’s Barclays Under-21 Premier League contest, with their opponents including a number of fully fledged international players in their line-up.
Among them was Belgium winger Adnan Januzaj, as well as keeper Sergio Romero – a 2014 World Cup finalist who has been capped 70 times for Argentina.
In the first half, Saints more than matched United and they could well have led before Januzaj struck just ahead of the break.
While the hosts went on to dominate proceedings after the interval, Jaïdi said there were positives to take.
"I think if you watched before the first goal we conceded, we were in control, we defended really well, we kept it nice and tight and they started to be frustrated. Then the goal comes against the run of play,” he told youtube.com/southamptonfc.
“Obviously, the second half we started really bad. Two or three balls we lost in the last third and that was our problem.
“It was a bit frustrating for me, because the plan didn't go as we wished, but it was still a good test for the boys, especially the younger boys – Alfie Jones, Josh Debayo. I think Josh dealt well with Januzaj, and for the senior boys they're still learning as well, but there's some moments where we need to make sure we are on the front foot and ready to sort out any problems.”
Jaïdi agreed that had Saints taken one of their chances in the first half, with Ryan Seager and Jake Hesketh both going close, while Bevis Mugabi headed against the bar, it could have been a very different outcome.
"We created some good chances in the last third and, as I said, the last touch, the last pass, didn't work for us,” said Jaïdi.
“We hit the bar through a corner – Bevis Mugabi – and if that went in it would probably be a different scenario.”
Jaïdi hopes the players will take on board some of the lessons ahead of next Monday’s Under-21 Premier League Cup game at home to Huddersfield, as Saints continue their defence of the trophy.
“It's little details, the players they need to learn from this game and they need to apply it next week and the next games. Next week is going to be an important game for us, so we need to be ready for that,” he said.