Claude Puel has hailed Southampton’s “fantastic” fans and believes they can be an inspiration for the players in the EFL Cup final this afternoon.
More than 32,000 Saints supporters are due to be at Wembley Stadium today, hoping to see their club lift only the second major trophy of its history.
Puel is thrilled with the backing his team will have, sparking memories for him of the sensational following they took to San Siro earlier in the season for the Europa League visit to Internazionale.
"Of course, it's very important,” he said. “I remember all the fans for the European game against Inter Milan. It was fantastic.
“Now there is even more – to have 33,000 there is fantastic. I hope we can give them plenty of pleasure, and that they will see their players play good football and I hope deliver a good result, of course.”
With Saints’ wait for another trophy having now reached 41 years, following the 1976 FA Cup, Puel is aware how much victory against Manchester United would mean.
But the manager explained that the focus of his team must not be on the significance of the game, but simply on how they can win it.
He said: "It's important for the club, it's important for the fans – and for the statistics also!
“But, for me, my staff and the players, it is important to just stay focused on the game and what we can do against this team, and what we can exploit. This is the most important thing.
“Afterwards, we will see the consequence of the result of the game, but it's important to stay focused and concentrated on this game now.”