Puel believes youth has helped Southampton balance busy calendar

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The world’s best clubs have to balance the rigors of domestic and European matches, and Southampton boss Claude Puel believes his side has found success with the inclusion of the club’s young players.

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The Saints currently sit 11th in the Premier League through 12 matches, however, Puel and the club have had to manage both domestic and Europa League games over a short span of time.

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Southampton has relied heavily on its young players for some time now, but the continued rise of players like Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Redmond and Pierre Hojbjerg gives Puel opportunities to rotate his squad.

“At the beginning of the season I said it would be a difficult season with this many games and to have the ability to keep a good balance between all the competitions,” said Puel. “We have tried this with a young squad and perhaps we can do more in the Premier League with the results.

“It is difficult to keep a good lucidity and fresh players every time and to keep the good energy.”

The next test for Southampton comes on Thursday as the Saints travel to the Czech Republic to face Sparta Prague. Southampton currently sits second in Group K, however, a victory for the Premier League side would allow Puel and co. to leapfrog the Czechs into the top spot.