Shane Long determined to ensure Southampton secure silverware at Wembley
Striker Shane Long believes Southampton have to seize the chance to win silverware having reached the EFL Cup final the hard way.
A 2-0 aggregate victory over Liverpool, after previously disposing of Premier League opposition in Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Arsenal without conceding a goal, has got the Saints to their first major final since finishing FA Cup runners-up in 2003.
Long is well aware it is a rare opportunity for clubs like theirs and knows they have to make the most of it.
"It's a massive thing for a club like Southampton to get to a final and for us players it doesn't come round too often to get that silverware to look back on your career and show off," said the Republic of Ireland international, who scored the added-time goal at Anfield which secured their Wembley place.
"It's great opportunity for us and we will go there fully ready to win, but it's not going to be easy."
"We haven't done it the easy way. We've beaten Palace, Sunderland, Arsenal and now Liverpool.
"That's all Premier League teams to get to the final and we deserve to be there.
"It's going to be a tough game there as well, but one we'll be ready for."
Having suffered a Europa League exit this season, Long hopes a trip to Wembley, their first in a major final discounting the 2010 Johnstone's Paint Trophy when they were a League One club, will make up for previous disappointments.
After struggling over the Christmas period Southampton appear to have bounced back with four wins in their last five matches and Long stressed they have to maintain that momentum.
"We've got a great squad here, some great players," he added.
"We're disappointed with how we're doing in the league and Europe didn't go to plan either, so it's nice to reward our fans and ourselves for the hard work we've put in by getting to a final.
"We will enjoy the moment but we have a game on Saturday against Arsenal in the FA Cup and then life goes on at Swansea on Tuesday.
"It's a cliche but you have to concentrate on the next game, that is the only way you can approach it.
"Us thinking about the final and getting excited about it will not make it come any quicker.
"Hopefully we will be on a good run of form going into it and we will get a result."