Claude Puel has praised James Ward-Prowse's intelligence after the midfielder captained the Saints to a 3-0 win over the champions Leicester at St Mary’s.
The England U-21 captain scored the opener and delivered a peach of a ball from a set-piece for the second as Saints ended the four match losing run. The boss, who is a big fan of promoting youth, was delighted with the performance of the academy graduate.
Happy Boss, Happy Work
Puel said that the midfielder has been “making strong progress” since the start of the season and that is transferring onto his “quality on the pitch”.
“He takes them with confidence and a good right foot, which gives us the opportunities to score like the second goal today,” said Puel regarding his set piece skill set.
Steven Davis, Jordy Clasie and Orial Romeu are just three of the other possibilities for the central midfield so Ward-Prowse needs to continue to deliver this high level performance to remain in the side.
"He played with good spirit, quality, strong character, good personality and intelligence because he can analyse a situation after every game,” said the boss. Before adding: “He knows whether an interesting game or not. It is important for young players to improve by analysing after the game.”
It was a convincing performance against the Foxes and Puel expressed his feelings towards the win as “happy” but is more concerned to “stop the regular losses.”
“I think it was a game between two teams in difficulties and it was important to play this game with good confidence, good calm and good spirit and good play," insisted Puel.
The Frenchman also said, “It was a fantastic first half with beautiful goals and good management in the second half we can finish off the game."
Puel was more pleased with the amount of opportunities that his side created after they have been misfiring in front of goal lately, and three goals is huge confidence boost.
He also added: “I was happy when I see Ward-Prowse scoring because it is important the midfield can score and try and keep good spontaneity after good action.”
Saints had 15 shots on goal against Burnley last weekend but still managed to lose the game by a goal to nil.
Puel has described this win a as “huge confidence boost” for all the players when they travel to Anfield to face an out of form Liverpool side to book their place at Wembley for the EFL Cup Final.