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Southampton At Blackburn Rovers The Verdict
at 10:03:57

"This was a team lacking in everything, the confidence has been shot, there is no discernible pattern to our play and more to the point there is no leadership from the manager."
Well I guess there's not much else left for me to criticise! From the very beginning Martin thought he knew best and how the team should play. He has an enormous ego and superior opinion of his management qualities, and now the sight of him parading after a game clapping furiously, is beginning to make me feel sick. He is exceptionally stubborn and determined no matter what happens to stay with his one chosen approach to prove himself right!
This constant fiddling with the team means there is no consistent pattern to the defence and our attacking players can manage just two shots on target between them against a team with one of the worst defensive records in the League. The tippy tappy sideways and backwards pattern of football is all Russell Martin can deliver, and we simply do not have the quality or understanding in our squad to make it work.
I refuse to discuss Stephens or any other individuals - we all have our favourites and those players we want out. Many of the players must be totally confused as to their role and function during a match. Now that Jason Wilcox has gone I cant wait for this total misfit of a manager to be shown the door, and lets start to enjoy the player talent that we probably have at the moment. I say, at the moment - by the time Martin has been sacked we will have lost most of our best players who must already be forming a queue behind KWP at the exit door!!!
Southampton At Ipswich The Verdict
at 13:49:23

As I have repeated many times there really is very little between the top four sides in the Championship. Saints can play eye-catchingly well at times, but even the weaker Championship sides have identified our weaknesses and areas of vulnerability.
Our defenders are not poor as individuals but they have been moved around and messed about so many times, its no wonder they forget their individual and collective responsibilities. Bazunu is an accident waiting to happen but much of his weakness at the knees is a result of the indecision and hesitation in front of him.
Our midfield looked temporarily better with Aribo replacing Smallbone, but the former seemed to tire badly and with Stu Armstrong rarely great at defending, Ipswich found their encouragement to launch attack after attack.
Although both Adam Armstrong and Adams found the back of the net, it was so predictable that our attackers would still manage to miss so many clear cut chances that once again it looked ominous for our chances of holding on. You can excuse this fact once or twice, but it is the same thing happening every time we play.
Our substitutions once again were at best baffling and totally ineffective, unlike those made by Ipswich. Their substitutes changed the game.
The truth is we are at least as good as the three teams above. But Leicester, Leeds and Ipswich have managers that make all the difference with their team selections, ability to change tactics and their substitutions.
How anyone could leave Walker-Peters sat on the bench for the most important match of our season so far, is way way beyond baffling. Martin has been the architect of his own downfall, and the main reason we have no chance now for automatic promotion.
Southampton At Ipswich Town The Preview
at 16:17:09

To be honest the Ipswich game could go either way - the same could be said for the Leicester and Leeds matches.
Maybe Adams will start as by the law of something or other he must score one day - then again maybe not.
Our midfield is by far the weakest of the top four Championship teams and I cant see any alternatives unless you throw in Aribo and Rothwell, and they both manage 'on' days at the same time..
If the Middlesbrough game proved anything it was quite simply that playing the way we do we, with the players we are selecting, with a manager who belongs firmly in the Championship, we are simply not good enough for promotion.
Southampton V Middlesbrough The Verdict
at 18:28:20

"the manager has to hold his hands up for this one."

Well he might as well keep his hands up - for several lost games recently, and most probably a few more still to come! This stubborn determination to play out from the back and the total lack of leadership on the field has once again contributed to our downfall, and a great opportunity to get back into a realistic position for automatic promotion has been wasted (again!)
The back four didn't do badly although you need to remember that Middlesbrough had no less than 11 first teamers out injured and consequently didn't pose much of a threat until the closing stages. Our midfield is weak and failed to stamp any authority on the game. They are Championship players and no more. Up front Che Adams put in yet another poor performance and not for the first time was the prime culprit in leaving us just the 1-0 up instead of three or four ahead.
We have a few experienced players who should by now have found their places in the team and probably have the quality to more than hold their own at this level. , Fraser, Brooks, Aribo and Rothwell might just add a little more quality and threat. But Russell Martin has failed to get the best out of his players and few of the team seem to know where they are or what they are supposed to be doing out there. I keep wondering what an Ings or even a Tella might have added to our effectiveness around the box.
I've frequently claimed that although we have some talented players in our squad it isn't head and shoulders above those of our main rivals. We can compete but not necessarily defeat. That's where your team selections, tactics and manager can make or not make all the difference. We have a stubborn 'Championship-level at best' manager who has fiddled about until almost all of the self confidence has been drained .from our side, and with no plan B, even the bottom of the table sides have rumbled the plan. And it doesn't look as if its going to change!
Russell Martin Should Not Face Selection Dilemma as Walker Peters Returns
at 12:59:28

"That suggests that surely the manager had seen the error of his ways"

I think this is highly unlikely to be the case! We have thrown away our chance of automatic promotion by messing up against Millwall and Hull. Martin will continue to do things HIS way. If we dont get promotion Harwood-Bellis will be gone anyway and Jack will be back as first choice CB.
I think we nearly all agree that we have a Squad close to being worthy of a return to the Premier League. But we have Championship Manager - apparently championed by our friends at Southampton FC News. Whatever happens we have had an exciting and successful season - in my opinion thats DESPITE the fiddling of Russell Martin. And he isn't going to change.
Sit Back, Wait, Watch And Hope Is All Southampton Can Do This Weekend
at 07:39:19

"Saints move joint top with comeback win at Leeds"

I just saw this headline!

The realised it was Rugby League!!
Russell Martin Must Stop Shoehorning Jack Stephens Into The Saints Side
at 10:53:20

"the manager has to surely eat humble pie and learn from his mistakes"

This manager will never eat humble pie. The players are NOT the problem. It is Mr Tippy Tappy manager himself that is the problem. I simply do not like his style - every time he opens his mouth he makes me cringe! We need a strong individual to manage potentially a promising squad. quite simply nick, Russell Martin is not our man.
Southampton V Sunderland The Verdict
at 10:17:06

Yes Nick puts it very well - so why cant our manager see sense before its too late?
I have never been a true fan of Russell Martin and I strongly believe that the Championship is his level and no higher.
Every week he tells us individual players were 'brilliant'. Aribo was brilliant last week presumably because he got RM out of jail. So brilliant that there was no place for him Saturday. Rothwell was 'brilliant ' yesterday - another player to save RM from his own mistakes!!
I have criticised time and again the manager's tippy tappy playing it our from the back tactics. We are simply not good enough to continually do this. Even the Premier League sides cause trouble for themselves doing it- and they are far better teams than us. Martin thinks he is clever and has a future alongside the Guardiolas - he hasn't. We are going toi lose out on automatic promotion because of Martin, his over grand ego, and his suicidal tactics.
YosemiteSaint has it spot on - we dont shore up our defence and holding midfield. If we can see that Sauntso not shut down attacks high enough up the pitch - why cant Martin see it! We are throwing games away - the first few minutes of the Second half are always 'hide in the toilet' moments for Saints fans!
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and I respect the views of those that claim that Russell Martin has done a good job. I am just so disappointed that he HAS NOT learnt from recent setbacks, selects the wrong defence and midfield, and persist with tactics that are tippy tappying our team into one unnecessary setback after another.
Southampton V Sunderland The Preview
at 11:18:52

"St Mary's needs to be a wall of sound"

Maybe - but the players and manager have the greater responsibility. Losing at home to both Millwall and Hull is unacceptable for a team looking for any kind of promotion.
There can be no excuses on Saturday - we shall then know for certain if we are good enough for promotion this season.
Southampton V Preston North End Postponed
at 18:01:28

Yes - please dont pass the name Fraser Richardson to RM or there will be even more tweaking of the team sheet.
Southampton V Preston North End The Preview
at 11:43:39

So no place for Joe Aribo - despite RM calling him 'brilliant'! Another who was 'brilliant' was RM's favourite Jack Stephens! And of course, Manning was' brilliant' going forward.
As a result of RM messing about so much I'm not sure that anyone knows exactly what the best and tightest line-up really is. Anyway, you can be sure that everyone will be 'brilliant' again tonight win, draw or lose!
Southampton At Birmingham City The Verdict
at 06:58:30

Defeats at home to Hull and Millwall, and 16 goals conceded in 7 matches, is all really disappointing for a team with the squad strength that we have. Fortunately other teams at the top have also got to win their matches and the pressure is on them all!
We are a difficult side to understand, at times producing some great and entertaining football, scoring some wonderful goals sometimes just when needed, but also regularly giving away stupid goals with a defensive system that should have been sorted by now. We also have a poor conversion rate frequently failing to hit the back of the net after wasting numerous excellent chances!
The conclusion - impossible to predict how things will eventually turn out for the top four but realising that we are bottom of the pile of four at the moment largely through our own mistakes. Does our defensive coach not get tired of the way our manager continues to mass around with his defensive line-up or the way we defend? Russell Martin can applaud himself as much as likes, but his persistent tinkering with team selections and especially the formation of his defensive unit, are losing us points we can ill afford to surrender.
Southampton V Birmingham City The Preview
at 17:14:14

Three key players OUT. Russell Martin cant get his team selections and substitutes right. 4 losses from 5 games.
Seems like a good time for the panic button to me!
Southampton At Liverpool The FA Cup Verdict
at 09:53:47

I think Jurgen Klopp more than just hinted that Saints need another season in the Championship if they are determined to play Russell Martin's tippy tappy possession football. The downside here is that several of our best players will leave if that is the case and we have to start recruiting and learning again.
I return to my old grumble that we cant turn good chances into goals with Mara once again the chief offender.
Russell will continue t be 'proud' of the lads and tell us they were all 'brilliant! Well we will see just how brilliant the sqaud is whern we take on a poor Birmingham side struggling for success!
Southampton At Liverpool The Preview
at 09:46:51

"that would reduce him down to the bare bones for the trip to Birmingham City on Saturday"

I have been reading all season here that we have the strongest squad, with real depth, in the Championship! this 'strong' squad failed the test against Hull and also Millwall; Maybe, just maybe, we can agree that OUR squad isn't quite so full of quality as we would like to think. Take one or two stars OUT and we are talking about 'bare bones'!
We might as well use our bare bones to win the FA Cup and then get promotion through impressive wins in the play-offs!
Southampton V Millwall The Verdict
at 11:47:44

Hi Centurion. i respect your view on RM and probably many others would say the same as you I dont think he will change his approach to the game and I'm just saying he's not my kind of manager and I dont believe he will ever get the best out of our players! As for patience - I dont think the word exists any more in todays football world!!
Southampton V Millwall The Verdict
at 11:19:38

I believe RM will be given at least the rest of the season to prove his worth. I have never enjoyed his tippy tappy, possession based style of football but as you say, it produced an outstanding run of results for which the manager must be given some credit . However we have some talented and promising players who still lack organisation and leadership both on and off the pitch. So with the likes of Steve Cooper and Graham Potter around with no jobs, if it were my decision, I would replace Martin with immediate effect!
Leeds and Leicester look a class above us and dont mess about worrying about 80% possession statistics. You say RM has done brilliantly this season. I say he has done well and been more than a little lucky on many occasions to retain his reputation. I dont think he will change his approach or tactics. He will still insist that all his players are 'brilliant' but still leave them curious as to why he hasn't found his 'best' line up by now. Its the play-offs at best now, and these will test to the full the our players and manager and will serve as the most realistic and relevant evaluation of RM's achievement this season!
Southampton V Hull City The Verdict
at 16:47:16

Nothing much to add to Nick's description of what happened , or what didn't happen on the pitch. Worth mentioning that Hull had done their homework, and used their young energetic loanees to exact a high press on a team that just couldn't cope with it. Hull were excellent and I'm not sure that we'll fare much better if we have to play them in the play-offs! Teams now know how best to play us.
In a previous comment I had suggested that we leave the team selections and player evaluations to Russell Martin although that was before he claimed that the side that started against Hull at St Marys was selected on the basis of what he had learned about Hull from the early season encounter!! That admission in itself is worrying indeed.
it was another game where the opening minutes revealed an opposition side that was far better prepared and organised than we were, and Hull are a much stronger side than Huddersfield and were never likely to give up their two goal half time advantage.
In fairness Ipswich scared their own supporters by conceding three goals to bottom club Rotherham, and it becoming clear that Leeds are the form team of the moment and the ones to stop.
Russell Martin must take full responsibility for the team selection on Thursday night and failure to take advantage of the three points that would have sent us second in the table. The fans feedback from Thursday is full of comments about errors by individual players and total confusion as to why the likes of Fraser and Adams were left sitting on the bench. We were second best against Hull and second best against Bristol. We have conceded 8 goals in the last four games. So I ask again are we really good enough for automatic promotion. Russell Martin has suddenly brought unnecessary pressure on himself and now there is no room for any more errors of judgement.
Southampton At West Bromwich Albion The Verdict
at 07:30:57

The performance at West Brom was in stark contrast to the way we conducted ourselves at Bristol City - we deserved to beat West Brom and we deserved to lose to City. And then Bristol go and lose a few days later to relegation threatened QPR!
I was concerned about our midfield without Downes, but after some poor performances by his standards, Stuart Armstrong stepped up to the plate and saved the day. Only Adam Armstrong and Sean Charles were below par for me and at Albion we saw a heart-warming team performance.
Although there were phases in the game when we came under pressure, we came out of the blocks showing a completely different approach to the game showing the energy and ambition that was totally lacking at Bristol. Sooner or later Baz is going to give an assist to our opponents through his nerve shattering passes out from his goal, but with Bednarek and Harwood-Bellis in fine form our defence had recovered from two shaky performances. However, probably time to STOP looking for weaknesses and inconsistencies.
I believe that the most reassuring factor now for Saints fans at the moment is that Russell Martin is doing a great job, knows the players better than we do, and should be trusted to do the very best for our Club. It is becoming pointless picking on individual players for odd mistakes and the occasional poor performance. Better now - and I never though that I would be saying this earlier in the season - to put our trust in the manager and his team, and what will be will be!
Southampton At Bristol City The Verdict
at 15:58:53

An excellent run by Saints came to an end. Like many I have to say that Russell Martin has done a fine job - much better than I thought probable. But it is not just the result of this game that concerns me but the realisation that we might not be quite as good as we were beginning to think.
The warnings were there in recent games, with yet another poor lethargic first half performance and a failure when it matters, to turn shots into goals. Contrast this with Leeds demolition of Swansea.
I have said many times that I believe our main problem is with our 'lightweight' midfield. Bristol City had played as many games as us in recent weeks and were just as entitled to be showing fatigue - they had also had a terrible run of home results. On the night they were so much stronger in the tackles and in the midfield contests where they outnumbered and outmuscled us. Charles is a weak link and I lost count of the mistakes and misplaced passes from Smallbone. Stuart Armstrong is not a great defensive midfield player and our back line needed better protection from a rampant City.
At the same time, I am reluctant to criticise Adam Armstrong but both he and Edozie failed to hit the back of the net despite opportunities, and we rarely looked like scoring.
Nick thinks that RM may have learnt a lesson here to put to our advantage against West Brom - surely a much more formidable adversary than City? We have conceded six goals in two games and in my view looked too lightweight and vulnerable against teams demonstrating the effective application of their physical strength.
Tuesday was a very poor night for Saints, and Friday will show us for sure, just how ready our Squad is for automatic promotion this season.
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