Southampton manager Nathan Jones is hoping to follow the example set by Eddie Howe after Newcastle United ended his hopes to leading his side out at Wembley.
The Saints made the long trip to Tyneside looking to overturn a deficit in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final against the Magpies. But just as they did in last week’s first leg, it was United that struck first as Sean Longstaff’s first-half double looked to have put them in complete control of the tie.
However, nerves were set on edge for the majority of those inside St James Park when Che Adams seized on a poor pass from Joe Willock and fired a low drive beyond Nick Pope to become the first opposition player to beat the Magpies keeper in team-mate Romain Perraud in a league clash between the two sides in November.
The visitors hopes of turning the game on its head were increased with eight minutes remaining when Bruno Guimaraes was shown a straight red card following a VAR review for a challenge on Sam Edozie after initially being shown a yellow.
But United held on to secure their first Wembley cup final visit since 1999 and left Jones and the Saints to focus on their attempts to preserve their Premier League status over the remainder of the season.
Speaking after the game, Jones praised his side for their reaction to falling two goals behind at a buoyant St James Park and admitted he hopes he can make a similar impact to the one Eddie Howe has made during his time at Newcastle.
“We were the better side in the second-half, we really were,” he told Sky Sports.
“It shows we can come to big places and be a really good side, but we just have to give ourselves an opportunity, we can’t chase games, we can’t really give a side like Newcastle a lead because if they get it they are very difficult to break down.
“We’ve just said they didn’t keep a clean sheet tonight, so that’s a positive, but it’s all about the league now and if we keep the performance levels up we will be fine. The team responded really well in the second-half, I thought we were really positive in the second-half and the players that came on were really positive.
“But congratulations to Newcastle and Eddie, he’s got a wonderful side here and hopefully, given a bit of time, we can be similar.”
The Saints will return to their Premier League survival battle when they visit Brentford on Saturday afternoon.