U21 PREVIEW: Manchester United vs Southampton

By SFC Media time Sun 03 May B Team

Following the disappointment of Thursday night’s defeat to Chelsea, Southampton Under-21s face another big test on Monday when they face Manchester United at Leigh Sports Village.

The two goals that saw off Saints at St Mary’s in midweek couldn’t really have been any more contrasting; the first, from Kasey Palmer, was a marvellous piece of skill coupled with an unstoppable strike into the top right-hand corner, but the second – finished by Dominic Solanke – was a result of a misplaced Josh Debayo pass.

And Technical Director Martin Hunter wants his team to get the Blues defeat out of their system in time for Monday, when they could be lining up against Holland star Robin van Persie, and revealed on Southampton's official YouTube channel that some ‘home truths’ were told in the changing room after Thursday’s loss.

“They’re obviously top of the league, they’re playing well and they will have senior players there, so it will be a very hard test for us and one that we need to bounce back and get a grip of,” he said of the threat posed by Warren Joyce’s men.

“We need to train well on Sunday and get ready for another very difficult game on Monday. 

“They’ll recover on Friday. They need to rehydrate, do all the basic things, and then we’ll do the match prep on Sunday and travel again. We’ll do what we always do – we’re not going to change, we’ve had plenty of success, but there were a few home truths said in the dressing room again, and hopefully the players will take that on board.”

Captain Jason McCarthy, meanwhile, is eager to bounce back quickly, and has eyed a repeat of the 3-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield earlier in the season which saw his side show plenty of quality to see off another of the league’s strongest sides. 

“We get the chance to now, because it’s a quick turnaround,” he said. “We’ve got a game Monday, and it’ll be a tough game away to Manchester United, but we beat them earlier on in the season, we got a late goal through Seags (Ryan Seager), so we’ll be looking to replicate that Monday.

“That’s a good one that stands out in my head as well, Liverpool at Anfield, the 3-1 there. We showed great character there and we’ve got that in our side – we’ve got players with big characters and we’ll be looking to do that Monday.

“We’re still preparing in the right way, we have a way of doing things throughout the week in preparing for games and maybe just not getting the luck of the draw at the moment.

“Maybe on Thursday night, it was a case of the cup final maybe still in our heads and stuff, but I have belief in our team. We’ve got some great players, some great leaders and I’ll be one of them and I‘ll be one of them trying to put it right Monday.”

The 1-0 victory over United at Staplewood at the start of December came in the middle of a seven-game unbeaten run for Hunter’s outfit and, with the Red Devils currently four points clear at the top of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League table and nine points clear of Southampton in ninth, McCarthy is urging his teammates to make the most of the challenging run-in.

“They’re top of the league, and we’ll be looking to knock them off that, and hopefully make our way up the league because we’ve got four games left, you don’t know where we could end up with that,” he said.

“It’s four big games – we’ve got Manchester United, Manchester City and Leicester – but they’re all big games and they’re all ahead of us, so if we can beat them then it pushes us up the table too.”

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