Hunter: Two points lost

By SFC Media time Mon 24 Mar B Team

Martin Hunter viewed Saints Development Squad’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City as two points lost in their battle for a top-four spot.

Southampton Under-21s were a little unfortunate not to take all three points as they look to qualify for the Barclays Under-21 Premier League final stage after hitting the woodwork twice while pushing for victory in vain.

Saints’ resurgence at Staplewood on Monday afternoon came after what Hunter felt was a beginning that doesn’t match the usual rate of performance.

“It’s definitely two [points] lost,” the coach assessed when speaking to Saints Player. “Particularly in the first 20 minutes, we were not at the races today. We were sloppy.

“The actual free-kick they scored from is down to a misplaced pass from us, which resulted in the free-kick – it was a good strike [from Josh Murphy].

“We’re very disappointed; having said that, with the number of chances we created in the first half it could have been a ridiculous scoreline like four-three or something like that.

“We had a few words at half-time and the second half was completely different. We told them to get back to the standards that we expect here, in terms of how we play out and how we press. We didn’t do either of those particularly well in the first half, but did in the second half and we were rewarded for it.

“Sam [McQueen]’s goal was fully justified and was a great strike. We hit the post and the bar, so that’s disappointing.”

Martin delivered his verdict on a number of players, including McQueen, Sam Gallagher and Ryan Seager after persisting with the attacking trio that all netted against Fulham last week.

As the end of the season approaches, Hunter predicts he’ll have to utilise his entire squad as Saints prepare to fight for a chance of qualifying for the final stage of the season – an extra period in the campaign only the top four teams reach.

The U21 boss continued: “He (McQueen) played well but I thought all the players in the second half picked their games up and were much, much better – as did the substitutes when they came on – it was good to watch.

“Omar [Rowe] is biding his time. He’s been very good in training. He’s been much more mature in the last few weeks. He’ll get his chance.

“They’ve got a good understanding of how we want them to play. We don’t want to play in straight lines. We want them to get width and we want them to move and get between defenders, which they did well today, as did the midfield players.

“We’ll see what bangs and bruises we’ve got. Now, we’ve got our last two games next week. We’ve got Everton on the Monday and at St Mary’s on the Thursday we play Newcastle, so we’ll probably need to use the whole squad.”

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