Butterfield: Staying grounded

By SFC Media time Fri 01 Dec Reading v Saints
Photo by James Bridle | Danny Butterfield

Under-18s coach Danny Butterfield has tasked his young side with replicating the strength of performance which has yielded three consecutive league wins, as attention now turns to tomorrow's Premier League Cup trip to Reading.

Saints' teenagers were 1-0 victors over Brighton last time out, with Harlem Hale netting the decider, and Butterfield spoke of his delight that the Under-18s' aptitude is being matched by their hard work and desire.

"We try and get the message across that winning games breeds confidence, but also that football has a habit of biting you if you happen to ease off," he reiterated.

"If we don't enter games with the same intensity as we have done previously we'll get punished.

"We all agree that beautiful football, playing through the thirds, and being clinical in front of goal is pleasing on the eye, but sometimes you come up against opposition who don't allow that to happen.

"We've shown we're capable of playing a different style of game, that's part of their development. They showed against Brighton that they can stay in a game when it's tight, keep a clean sheet, and nick a 1-0. That is just reward for all the hard work."

Harlem Hale during Southampton U18 vs Brighton U18 at the Staplewood campus, Southampton, 25th November 2017
Harlem Hale hits a second-half winner against Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend

Saints' young charges recorded a 3-0 victory over their Reading counterparts in a recent league clash, but have also drawn the Berkshire outfit in this season's Under-18s Premier League Cup.

Whilst acknowledging that there may have been a psychological advantage gained, Butterfield asserted that his team must compete from the first whistle in order to extend their recent purple patch.

"We think Reading are a good side and they've got quality in that team," Butterfield added.

"We'll give them the utmost respect, but also know that we've had a good result against them a couple of weeks ago. It is a fresh game, which the boys have to win from minute one.

"We need to take care of our own business, and we're aware that a positive result will take us in to the quarter-final stages. The cup competition adds a bit more excitement, but staying grounded and maintaining a good level of performance is also a key focus."


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