Radhi Jaïdi had mixed feelings after believing Saints' Under-21s could have taken all three points from their trip to Sunderland after conceding a late equaliser to the league leaders.
The under-21s assistant coach admitted, though, that he was torn between whether to be happy with a point which preserves the team’s unbeaten run, and the fact that they let a late lead slip in the closing stages of the contest.
Saints had good chances in the game, particularly in the second half after going 1-0 up, and although they retook the lead after being pegged back to 1-1, they conceded again late on to substitute Luke Molyneux’s close-range finish.
“In my head I’m happy with one point,” Jaïdi told youtube.com/southamptonfc.
“It was away from home against a team who are really powerful and direct with the first and second ball. But on the other side I’m a bit disappointed because if you see especially the chances we had in the second half I think we had five clear chances to score and we didn’t so it’s a level between happy and disappointed.
“Overall the second half was a really good performance from the boys. They stepped it up compared to the first half with energy and played wide. Our two wide players were a bit deep in the first half so we told them to go higher in the second half which they did.”
The game turned in Saints’ favour less than ten minutes into the second half and Jaïdi felt that owed to the team’s more adventurous approach.
“You could see from the first goal where [Dominic] Gape played the ball long behind and we started to create chances from the first minute of the second half and that’s what we wanted to see from the players which was a good reaction and a lot of football understanding – doing the right things in the right moments.
“The first half we defended really well, but we didn’t keep the ball as we expect to, but it’s a pleasure to see us scoring goals through Sammy [Gallagher] and Ollie Cook as we haven’t scored through a set play in a long time so that’s a positive.”
Sunderland levelled in the 83rd minute before the final flourish of a further goal for each team inside the last three minutes of the 90, but Jaïdi was satisfied enough with the team’s efforts throughout the game.
“We knew it would be slightly panicky after they scored and even when we went 2-1 up we had two chances which we didn’t take and we could have scored at least one to kill the game,” he explained.
“You could see their manager had asked to play more direct when they conceded, so they put the ball in the box and that put pressure on us and we panicked a bit which is not what we wanted in the last minute. It’s 2-2 we both get a point and I think we’re all satisfied with the performance especially of some of the boys, which hopefully we will take into the next week.
“If we want to take the positives into the next week it’s that we took one point from this game and in an away game which was not an easy one against a team top of the league. We played against experienced players and I think we managed it well.
“It’s two home games now and we will have a point to prove (against Norwich) and hopefully the boys will react to that.”