Saints boss urges patience with Boufal after wonder-strike

Southampton manager Claude Puel has urged fans to be patient with record signing Sofiane Boufal as he bids to regain full fitness following a long-term injury.

Boufal, who joined from French side Lille during the close season, ensured Southampton reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup in his first start for the club by scoring with a stunning long-range strike to knock out Sunderland on Wednesday.

"I am not surprised by the goal because he has the technical ability to do that sort of thing but it's fantastic for him and for all the squad, and very important for the future of the squad," Frenchman Puel told British media.

"It's important to stay patient with him because he is young and he cannot for the moment (show) everything he has got, but you can see through the goal that he is an interesting player.

"It is important not to rush him and take it step-by-step but he will get chances to play in the future. It is important to keep him fit."

The 23-year-old midfielder had to undergo an operation to rectify a knee problem he picked up while playing for Lille earlier this year.

The Saints, who are eighth in the Premier League, host fourth-placed Chelsea on Sunday.