Martin Hunter spoke of his pride in Southampton’s youngsters after their Checkatrade Trophy opener against Peterborough United.
Saints, one of 16 clubs invited to field an under-21 side in the competition, were beaten 2-0 by the League One leaders at the ABAX Stadium, but held their own against their high-flying opponents.
"I'm very proud of them,” said Hunter. "There's four or five lads there tonight who have acquitted themselves really well and shown good signs for the future.
"The other pleasing thing was not to concede in the seocnd half and the chances that were created by the opposition were from our poor play and not some sort of fantastic way of opening us up.
"I think Alex [McCarthy] has only had one save from a corner in the second half, so that was very pleasing.”
Hunter added: "It was the difficult game that we thought it would be.
"I thought for the first 20 minutes we were poor, we didn't adapt to the pace and power of this team, bearing in mind they're top of League One.
"I thought after that we settled in the game and grew to half-time and I thought the start to the second half was particularly good."