London (AFP) – Southampton manager Claude Puel set his sights on League Cup glory after masterminding his side’s semi-final triumph over Liverpool on Wednesday.
Puel’s team won 1-0 at Anfield as Shane Long’s late goal secured a 2-0 aggregate success that booked the club’s first League Cup final appearance since 1979.
It is also Southampton’s first final in any competition since 2010 and a first major final since their 2003 FA Cup defeat against Arsenal.
Saints will play Manchester United or Hull in the final, with United holding a 2-0 lead heading into Thursday’s second leg.
Southampton have never won the League Cup, losing their only previous final appearance against Nottingham Forest, but Puel is determined to make only his second ever visit to Wembley a victorious one on February 26.
“It is fantastic for all the squad and a good reward for their hard work. It was difficult to find this opportunity to play a final at Wembley,” Puel said.
“In the two legs we deserved the win. We were fantastic in the first leg at home and tonight we had chances in the first half.
“In the second half it was difficult but now we go to Wembley, not just to participate but to win this cup. I have been there once, just to watch France beat England.”
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp missed out on taking his team back to Wembley after they lost last season’s League Cup final against Manchester City.
The German admitted Southampton deserved to reach the final, but bemoaned a rejected penalty appeal for handball by Long and claimed Liverpool had done enough to win on the night.
“They won both games, they deserved it, but we did really well. We cannot create more chances than we did in the second half,” Klopp said.
“We had big chances and no luck. A lucky save, a good save but a lucky save. Then the ref didn’t see the handball of Long and it doesn’t help in a game like this.
“We had seven good chances. You have to score, and we didn’t do so we lost. I’m fine with the performance but not the result.”
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