Despite being tinged with slight disappointment that maximum points weren't achieved, Under-23s coach Radhi Jaïdi has praised the improved team performance during last week's 3-3 thriller with Middlesborough.
Saints' youngsters bounced back from a disappointing night against Fulham, to take a point away from the Premier League 2 leaders, and now face equally tough opposition in Blackburn Rovers this evening, as they continue their Premier League Cup campaign.
Reflecting on last week's result, Jaïdi said: "Looking at the game scenario we could have had the three points, but my feeling was that the boys performed well and scored good goals against strong opposition.
"Something we need to learn about is game management and making the right decisions. One point is okay when you play away from home, but we were slightly disappointed we didn't take the maximum.
"We have quality, I think every time we're in control of a game we create and score goals, but out of possession we need to match that intensity. This comes with experience."
One particular performance caught the eye of the Under-23s coaching staff at Middlesbrough, after Jake Hesketh continued his good form with a brace, as well as an abundance of progressive attacking play.
He's clever positionally and scores goals so it helps the younger players. when he's ready i think the first-team manager will be thinking about him.Radhi jaïdi
on the impact of Jake hesketh
Speaking about the 21-year old's return to action, Jaïdi said: "Hesketh has spent a lot of time off the pitch [with injury]. He showed that hunger and desire to prove he can get back to the level, scored four goals so far for the 23s and gives us a good balance.
"He's clever positionally and scores goals so it helps the younger boys. When he's ready I think the first-team manager will be thinking about him."
On tonight's opponents Blackburn, Jaïdi added: "We play them in the league, a tough opposition. Physical, good rotation and they play different systems. But we want to go as far as possible in this competition."
A win for Saints would move them to the top of the Group B standings at the halfway stage, with Blackburn currently one point above them after two matches.