Southampton earned their first win under new manager Mauricio Pellegrino when they defeated Saint-Étienne 3-0 in Chambéry on Saturday evening.
A number of players impressed in the pre-season friendly but which three players would have really got the Argentine boss excited?
Matt Targett – The second-half substitute probably gets the honour as man of the match. The youngster came on for Ryan Bertrand in the 57th minute and grabbed two assists – the first an exquisite cross right onto the head of Manolo Gabbiadini and the second a low-hard cross for James Ward-Prowse to slam home. Targett also made a crucial goal-bound block in the 84th minute with the game at 2-0.
James Ward-Prowse – Another second-half substitute and academy player who impressed. The England under-21 international got a goal and an assist during his 30-minute cameo. His goal came from about 12 yards after a good cross from Targett and his inswinging corner for Yoshida’s goal in the 86th minute, once he took the captain’s armband, yet again showed his quality from set pieces.
Manolo Gabbiadini – The last pick was a tough one because Jérémy Pied and Maya Yoshida also shined but Gabbiadini showed glimpses of being back to his best during his 74 minutes on the pitch. The Italian striker was constantly involved and had five shots during the game, including a cracking header from a Targett cross which broke the deadlock. The goal was Gabbiadini’s first since scoring against Watford back in March and will give him a timely confidence boost with the season now just two weeks away.