Saints At Derby County The Verdict
Sunday, 22nd Jul 2018 09:49
Saints collapsed in the second half to Championship side Derby County, but what can we read into this ?
Saints gave a debut in the starting line up to Mohamed Elyounoussi as Mark Hughes's side travelled to Derby County in the 4th pre season friendly, however they were still missing those away on World Cup duty and Jannik Vestergaard started on the bench.
Interestingly also on the bench was new goalkeeper Angus Gunn with no sign of Fraser Forster, however although Vestergaard would play the second half, Gunn would have to watch all of the game from the sidelines.
Their was nothing between the sides after a goalless first half and Mark Hughes made only two changes at the break, Steven Davis on for Elyounoussi and Vestergaard on for Targett, initially this looked a good change with the Danish defender showing his aerial power and almost scoring with virtually his first touch in a Saints shirt only to be denied by the keeper.
But it was to be the home side who opened the scoring, Tom Lawrence being played through to place the ball past McCarthy.
Mark Hughes responded by making a raft of changes shortly after the hour mark, but it as to no avail Lawrence again scoring this time with a 20 yard shot past McCarthy.
By the final ten minutes only Alex McCarthy and Wesley Hoedt remained on the pitch of the 22 who had originally started the game and it was Derby who had the final say with Mason Bennett completing a 3-0 win for the hosts.
But it should be remembered this is a pre season game, it is not about the result but about preparing for the league season, in that respect Derby are a week ahead of us in their preparation and Frank Lampard had a full squad to choose from, whereas Mark Hughes was not only missing several of his squad who were at the World Cup plus he also had two of his new signings needing to be given only a half each.
So there is little real to be read into the result of this game, it will however tell Mark Hughes a lot about his squad, he will be starting to form his opinions about who is up for the fray and who isn't, he will be starting to look at where we need to strengthen.
Last season although Hughes was in charge he had to quickly focus on staying up and not looking at his whole squad, he went with using in the main a core group of players and sticking with them, now he has decisions to make.
Saints fans will be disappointed, but it is not the result that counts but what Hughes has learned and how he now moves forward.
There are still 3 more weeks and 3 more games to go before the big kick off against Burnley, plus the time on the training ground, this is a long time in terms of pre season, games like this are useful to a manager, sometimes a defeat will tell you a lot more than a win will.
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