Southampton's Claude Puel staying upbeat despite Sparta Prague loss
Claude Puel has told his Southampton players not to be too downbeat after their 1-0 Europa League defeat at Sparta Prague.
Costa Nhamoinesu's early goal was enough to book Sparta's place in the round of 32 as group winners, but the Saints now face a decisive clash with Hapoel Be'er Sheva at St Mary's in a fortnight.
Hapoel moved level on points with Puel's men after coming from two goals down to beat Inter Milan, who can no longer qualify for the knockout stages.
A goalless draw against the Israeli side would be enough to send Southampton through and Puel quickly turned his attention to that game.
"This goal is not a good thing just at the beginning of the game,'' Puel told BT Sport. "The first half we had some good chances but weren't clinical enough and this was a problem for us in this game. In the second half it was difficult.
"It's frustrating of course but nothing is finished. We have to keep the idea clear because we have our future in our hands. The last game is the final of the group. It's at home in front of our fans and this is very important.''