​Southampton manager Claude Puel is confident that his team can successfully stop Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the EFL Cup final on Sunday. 

Southampton have played Manchester United only once so far this season, a match that the Red Devils won thanks to a brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

Puel has previously faced Ibrahimovic during his time in Ligue 1 with Lille and has now said that the Swede can be contained by his defenders during the match. 

Speaking about the match to ​PA Sport, he said, "I know Ibrahimovic very well from the French Premier League so I cannot be surprised by him. In France he was a fantastic player but all the people say 'Okay, it is the French Premier League and not the English one.'" 

He then continued, saying, "But he has come here, he is 35 and he can do a fantastic job, fantastic work. He is clinical, very efficient and also he gives a good authority to the team. He is a character player." 

Talking about the Ibrahimovic's style, he added, "He doesn't run a lot but always with a good run, with good play, good gestures. It is fantastic to see him. 

The Saints will be missing their main defender, Virgil van Dijk, due to injury. His place in the team will most likely be taken by Jack Stephens.

When asked if Stephens can do well against Zlatan, the Frenchman said, "We'll see if Jack starts this game. But for me of course I'm confident with the player, with the squad. I saw at our training camp in Spain very good concentration, very good spirit, quality in the training sessions." 

He elaborated, "There was big attention from Jack and all these young players. They stay calm and just focus about what they can have to do. All the players can play in my team against Ibrahimovic. They know him now. We will give a good answer."

Southampton come into the match against United on the back of two weeks of rest, while Manchester United have played three matches in that span of time. 

Puel will be hoping that the Red Devils find it a little tough playing so soon again, whilst at the same time hoping that his players are ready.