Despite being underdogs, Claude Puel's side used their supporters' phenomenal backing to push the Red Devils all the way, ultimately going down 3-2 after an epic comeback.
Not meant to be
With the dust settling after Sunday's gripping final, many on the South Coast will still be trying to fathom how the Saints were not lifting the trophy at the end of proceedings. From the kick-off, Southampton took the game to their supposedly superior opponents, dominating possession, territory, and chances throughout.
However, a combination of near misses, poor defending and plain bad luck shattered the dreams of the 32,000 Saints fans lucky enough to be at Wembley on Sunday. After starting like a house on fire, only a controversial offside call prevented their side from taking the lead through the electric Manolo Gabbiadini.
After conceding two very sloppy and avoidable goals before half-time, Southampton were deservedly back level shortly after the break, thanks to a ruthless brace from Gabbiadini. Yet despite having all the momentum, the Saints just could not find that elusive winner.
After Romeu hit the woodwork with a header and James Ward-Prowse just not being able to reach a cross with the goal at his mercy, another unforgivable error at the back settled things, with Southampton's defence somehow allowing Zlatan Ibrahimovic a free header inside the six-yard box with just a few minutes to go. The Swedish veteran duly converted, winning United a trophy that, on the day, they rarely looked like lifting.
Despite being clearly distraught following the defeat, Romeu expressed how the fantastic support overwhelmed him and his team-mates, saying that "we have to be very grateful to them" and "that comeback was because of them".
As well as the Spaniard, Nathan Redmond was also quick to thank his team's twelfth man, declaring "we couldn't wish for a better set of fans" and that "they've got us through the competition and today". While it may seem a day to forget at face value, everyone connected to Southampton can look back on the occasion with a tremendous sense of pride.
They say that it's not important what happens to you in life, what matters is how you react to it, and Romeu is already looking ahead to Southampton's next fixture, a trip to Watford this Saturday. The 25-year-old is focusing on the positives, maintaining that "the team played amazingly" and "we have a week to come back".
The midfielder was also full of praise for Gabbiadini, who has netted five times in three appearances since signing for the Saints last deadline day, claiming "Every time he has a chance he puts the ball in and that’s what we want". With taking goal-scoring opportunities a constant issue, Southampton will be desperate that the Italian continues his incredible start, as their success up front relies almost solely on him.