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Saints At Wolverhampton Wanderers The Verdict
Monday, 1st Oct 2018 09:32

It was always going to be a tough game and one that Saints needed to build on a fragile confidence, but just as you thought that we might snatch a point and maybe more we again suffered the dreaded lapse in concentration.

As the game entered the final period Saints fans up at Molineux were optimistic that their side was growing stronger and looked the more likely to win the game in the last 15 minutes, but then with 10 minutes to go as they tried to attack they lost the ball and were caught on the break and the game was gone.

For the best part of the game Saints competed, they dug in and weathered the odd storm and in the main were starting to look comfortable in what they were doing, but they seem to be playing without just confidence but leadership and motivation and that is what is setting them aside from teams like Wolves.

Whereas the home side wanted the ball and to run at players, only Nathan Redmond in our colours seemed to have the fight to do that, we passed the ball well, we defended well, but we had little appetite to truly try to win the game.

In the final stages we were starting to look better and showing a little desire to win it, but that ultimately cost us as Mario Lemina surged forward into a wall of Wolves yellow and lost the ball, he really should have expected his team mates to be able to deal with that, but the fact is we couldn't and were all at sea as Wolves poured forward.

So where do Saints go from here a lot of people will rant about the same players, but defensively the weak link is not Hoedt but Vestergaard who seems to be struggling to come to terms wit the pace and physicality of the Premier League and is often caught napping.

WE matched Wolves in all things statistical bar goals, but more tellingly we couldn't match them for passion, motivation and aggression and that is the difference between winning games and losing them.

There is a distinct lack of leadership both on the field and seemingly off it, Hughes seems to stick to a core of players but seems unable to decide on another dozen, hence we see changes on the bench week in week out and a lack of a clear pecking order in those not playing.

I have often called for time for Mark Hughes to be able to bed in new signings and to impose himself and his style on the squad, there is a spark missing, can Sparky find it is the question, we are underperforming due to a lack of confidence and leadership, but where will we get either of those from.

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Sanguin added 09:44 - Oct 1
Everyone gives Hoedt a hard time, but I think Vestergaard had his worst game in a Saints shirt and Hoedt had to bail him out a couple of times. I really want this partnership to flourish but between them and our inability to score goals, I'm really worried this season.

landerwal added 10:41 - Oct 1
Pouchettino's teams would press up field chasing down any opponent with the ball with three four players and always putting the pressure on teams in their own half. Koeman continued this even it meant a lot of fouls being committed in the opposition half by Saints. The last three mangers have been happy to sit back and soak up pressure, hoping (or praying) for a one nil win or draw.
Football is much about psychology as skill. If a team is been harried, pressurised and forced back by the opposition, it affects them. Teams score late goals against us because they believe they can and because Saints allow them to think that way by the way we play. If the opposition can't put together two three passes because Saints won't let them, they lose heart. The problem is not with individuals or our defence it is in the way the whole team plays.

helpineedsomebody added 11:12 - Oct 1
which ever way you want talk about it its a place where we are an established EPL should go there and not lose, PUEL would have not lost there with his playing system. what ever mark hughes playing system is its turning the team in to playing at a level that they cant play at or he should not be managing at. as fans we can only have an opinion but this the 3rd season where there is bob hope& no hope watching EXCUSE FOOTBALL AGAIN while the only excitment we get is watching a manager holding his arms aloft on the sidelines bawling at his players or perhaps he is cracking a few gags at the guys . we play everton this week then chelsea LOSE these 2 games then the manager will be in the brown stuff i hope we dont . this manager & his coaching staff is proving to be what they are a very defensive playing football team, still we will see on tuesday whether he plays 9 at the back or better still 10 at the back on saturday on thing is for sure we will get alot of excuses why its nothing to do with him.


dirk_doone added 11:27 - Oct 1
EVERY game is going to be a tough game for Saints this season if Hughes persists with Hoedt and Vestergaard at the heart of our defence. If he'd played Yoshida and Bednarek instead, we might have got a point at Wolves.

Clueless Ross Wilson needs to be replaced as head of recruitment so that we stop wasting so much money on player, like Carrillo, Hoedt and Vestergaard, who aren't quick enough or skilful enough to play in the Premier League.

DPeps added 11:30 - Oct 1
We've won 6 PL games in the last 12 months (so about 38 games).
The devil is in the detail, though. We beat WBA twice (relegated), Everton (who struggled at times under Big Sam), Bournemouth (who at that point in the season had nothing to play for), Swansea (relegated), and a Zaha-less Palace.

That's a horrible return

1teeminants added 11:57 - Oct 1
As you have constantly reminded us in the past Nick , you play the same side and do the same things you get the same results, it’s time to do what I and 95% of saints fans want and I think Hughes himself is finally realising as he has woken up and hinted at changes , bring in Yoshida and Bednarek for Hoedt and Vestergaard.They certainly couldn’t do any worse as we leak goals left right and centre.

bstokesaint added 12:37 - Oct 1
I went to watch the Ryder Cup and I’m so glad I did because it restored my faith in what top level professional sport should be. Great atmosphere, sportsmen at the top end of their game, teamwork and an incredible sense of pride at stake. After I’d finished watching the golf for the day I thought I’d check out the footy scores. My only slight disappointment was that we lost 2-0 when I’d predicted 2-1! This obviously isn’t because I wanted us to lose, but I just couldn’t see any other outcome right now. I think Peps sums up quite nicely how far we’ve fallen in terms of achievement and expectation. In two games’ time our situation is likely to be precarious and then what next? A new manager (who most probably is currently out of work – why would a good manager not be employed after all)? Or will we actually show some balls and look further up the food chain? Our recruitment is woeful and if we don’t sort it out soon it’ll be Christmas and we’ll be rock bottom.

saintmark1976 added 13:18 - Oct 1
Well put DPeps. Our record since the back end of the season before last is, played forty seven Premiership games winning only eight. We've been in big trouble for months now but the owners and board appear totally oblivious or is that they simply don't care anymore?

On reflection it's a great pity that Swansea fell apart last term because until we are relegated it's clear now that nothing is going to change.

REEDYREEDOREEDZ added 13:57 - Oct 1
I think Landerwal above makes a great point. The high press was brilliant to watch as a fan, we gave teams a really tough time and really looked to impose ourselves on every game no matter who we were playing. That attitude, team spirit and work ethic meant we got the best out the players we had. Schneiderlin was world class playing that system, it suited him perfectly. Unfortunately the only way we could get back to those glory days using such a positive system would be to swap out Hughes for one of the very few managers around who know how to successfully impliment such a system.
Hughes has got maybe 5 games to save his job. 5 more games without a win and the board will have to get rid. Pellegrino was kept in the job way too long last season, they can't be seen to make the same mistake again.
Hughes did a great job keeping us up last season, we were dead and buried when he took over. The trouble is now, the players mentality is absolutely shattered. Our attackers have little confidence, our defence is shaky and struggle with the pressure, especially when we're in the lead. For the current manager to change that mentaility, that is incredibly difficult. How do you form a decent CB partnership out of Hoedt, Vestergaard, Yoshida, Bednarek or Stephens? You can't because none of them are good enough. How do you get some creativity out of our attackers? What creative attackers do we actually have?? How many of our games over the last 12 months have been described by the media as lacking quality? I hear/see it every week. We have no outstanding quality.
If Hughes turns this around in time to save his job then fair play, he truely is a great manager. The most likely scenario, he'll be gone by Christmas. We've just got to hope the board find the next Pochettino and not another Pellegrino.

underweststand added 15:46 - Oct 1
Result - sad but predictable. Going up against a promoted side away from home who are carrying on from last seasons successes. A fair result? ..not really, but we deserved one point for effort.

Stats. show we had more % possession, 6-6 shots on target, Wolves got ONLY 3 yellow cards and were lucky not to get a red....for the foul on Redmond. The only stat.that mattered went against us (0-2). Elyounoussi had a few shots on target (forget that stupid miss-kicked corner)... but he is improving IMO. Austin barely got into the game, Danny Ings looked great playing at RB when Cedric went missing but the CB's are really out if touch. Do they talk to each other I wonder?

Vestergaard's long free-kick might have provided some excitement if we'd had a striker in the 6 yard box when their keeper dropped the shot, but Vestergaard is vulnerable when he loses the ball on the ground and can't turn quick enough against fast-moving striker.

Sorry Nick, but I really want to see Yoshida given a run of games. He is our most experienced defender. Most games for Japanese player in the Prem.... TWO World Cups behind him ....and 70+ caps for his country ....that's not bad - is it?. I really don't care who plays alongside him, but he's a better bet than those who've had had 6 games so far.

MH will continue to shuffle the pack until he gets some points on the board, and has seemingly lost patience with the "first-choice " players....a good time for those in the "B squad" to make a name for themselves. A win tomorrow would be a pleasant surprise
-- even if it isn't 3 more points.

As for the Chelsea game ...? It should be a real test for the team - whoever is picked will need to cover themselves in glory for us to even get ONE point.
After that ..yet ANOTHER international break followed by ---who knows what ?


davidargyll added 16:07 - Oct 1
I do love this blog! Everybody seems to think that if we put X, Y and Z on the pitch instead of A, B and C, all our troubles will (at least partially) be solved.
I’ve got 2 words in reply: Brian Clough! Any manager can (in theory anyway) make Class A players into Class A players, the real skill is to make Class B and C players, if not into Class A players, then into a Class A team. Play well as a team eg Wolves and guess what suddenly all our players become the best and what is more can compete with the best. Poch had it. So did RK. Sparky? Do me a favour. As I said last week look at his managerial career stats on Wikipedia. He is frankly not very good, never has been and never will be.
We are destined for mediocrity at best until we get in someone who can mould a decent team.
In the meantime I will continue to smile at all the suggestions of tinkering with the team, the problem is the manager, end of..,.


SanMarco added 17:50 - Oct 1
The team has got weaker and the last three managers have not been inspiring. I don't think it is 'either' 'or' on this - the manager and the squad are both not awfully good. Those that say we have a good squad let down by...(fill in one of the usual 'lack of leadership on the pitch', 'rubbish manager' etc) should post a starting 11 plus subs who would be setting this league alight if they only had (whatever they haven't got as per previous brackets). Difficult isn't it?

I am hoping against hope that at least two of the new signings will settle in and make a big difference. We have five centre-halves who might be alright beside a very good centre-half (Les forgot to sign him). We have poor attacking midfield options (Les STILL hasn't spotted that) and even sold the one flair player we had in Tadic and we are, this season, regularly playing two 'attacking' options who score less than Yoshi does. Even Stephens has scored more goals than Redmond in the last year. It feels to me like the decision-makers really don't know what they are doing. They are incapable of addressing problems obvious to us all. Unless there is change at boardroom level we are in real danger of going down. I can see the Newcastle match being labelled 'El Sackio' like the match vs QPR in our first season back was - Hughes was sacked after that one too...

A1079 added 17:54 - Oct 1
A reasonably fair assessment.

The issue of motivation, confidence and wanting to fight hard and go for a win and to be able to concentrate and be fit enough to last the full 90 minutes and beyond, then they are all issues that sit with the manager and coaching staff, and putting aside my concerns of what is happening or not happening in the hierarchy of SFC, these issues fundamentally and unquestionnably sit with MH and his team.

I have never been a fan of MH, accepting, he was a solution to an immediate problem, but his record is not great and his penchant for always blaming others, rather than look at himself has never warmed me to him. But, equally, I was hoping he would at least steer us to mid table mediocrity, but all I see is more of the same of the last 2 and a bit seasons.

I agree with you, this week Hoedt was not the problem, but neither was he the answer. Vestergaard looks like a fish out of water and we can all say about bedding in etc, but he joined at the beginning of the closed season, not at the end of it. He has had time.

Ings aside, none of our summer purchases thus far have added any quality to the side or made a difference. Add to that, some established players who seem to be just turning up and taking the money.

Quite what we do with our next game against Chelsea I do not know. If MH adopts the same approach as he did at Liverpool then we may as well just hand Chelsea the 3 points. If he plays the same team, then it is likely to get the same result. But is it fair to put in those that have not had a game in a game like Chelsea? There is then the break, followed by a few games we simply HAVE to win. But, I am not confident we can beat anyone.

In all honesty, as things stand, I cannot see us getting out of this mess.

mattthelegend added 18:01 - Oct 1
I took a few positives from the weekend
1) Cardiff
2) Newcastle
3) Huddersfield
4) We are only 7 points behind Man Utd.

What’s not to be happy about people.

schatfield added 18:26 - Oct 1
I for one, have never slated the team and always tried to look on the positive side with Saints. I will never slag off the people that run the club and still believe that the board (and I include our MD in that) do the right thing. You only have to look at how much we spent in the summer to see they are making the right moves to fix Saints again. Where I lose sight is the incredibly bad signing of Mark Hughes as a manager....in the past we gambled on a true gem of a manager with the likes of Poch when he was untested, Koeman too. We seem to got scared last year and went to MH who kept us up more by other teams tending to be worse. We rewarded him with a 3 year contract which is a disaster. He doesnt lack the ability to get our squad fit for 90 minutes, able to dictate proper tactics and get the best out of a team that should really be top 8. It is a true shame and I hope the board see this and replace him soon.....as it stands I see us heading to bottom 5 for the rest of the year.

BoondockSaint added 19:06 - Oct 1
At the start of the broadcast (which featured a very Wolves biased commentator) they said that last year Wolves were described as "Premier League team playing in the League Championship". All I could think was Saints are a League Championship team playing in the Premier League!

Every part of the club, board, management, and players, need quality replacements, but we're not a very attractive club at the moment.

Hugh_Jarce added 20:42 - Oct 1
Yes we can argue the toss about which 2 of 5 should play in central defence. But it's the appalling lack of creativity up front that makes us focus on defence. We bossed midfield Saturday but could have played all night and still not scored. You know when we fall behind it's game over

bstokesaint added 22:02 - Oct 1
It is easy to blame Hughes, with his less than great management record, but I don’t think it’s right to make him the sole scapegoat.

Surely any business will have weekly/monthly meetings where all areas are involved and heads of departments have to justify poor performance. We should be having crisis talks right now if we’re to survive the season. Questions need to be asked. Why have we got so many big signings out on loan? Why is goal scoring still an issue over two seasons in a row? Why can’t we keep a lead? Is our fitness up to scratch? Do we lack experience? How have we gone from recruiting the likes of Toby, Lovren and VVD to the dross we have now? Is Southampton really a community club that care what the fans think? Does anyone listen to their opinions? Or are the only questions asked what are the bottom line profits and what is Mr Gao’s cut? It shudders to make me think what happens in the boardroom. Actually it scares me.

zonehead added 22:41 - Oct 1
Although I think leadership is a real problem ( and think lemina is a tumour regarding this, fitness seems to be a concern re the late goals conceded from winning positions. Strachan always made a great point with this with concentration coinciding along with superior levels of fitness.
End of last season we had a slight new manager bounce, but it was noticble our stamina levels increased, although fear of relegation and pay packet is a great leveller

skiptonsaint added 22:41 - Oct 1
That Newcastle game is massive now.

ItchenNorth added 23:17 - Oct 1
We'll beat Chelsea.

saintmark1976 added 08:23 - Oct 2

1.Is Southampton really a community club that cares what the fans think? Not anymore.

2.Or are the only questions asked what are the bottom line profits and what is Mr Gao's cut? Yes, not of course forgetting Kat's 20 percent.

It saddens me to say it but as I previously posted the only way to get our club back is for us to be relegated.


petedoors1 added 09:13 - Oct 2
While we struggle to stay out of the bottom 3 Little Bournemouth are now unbeaten in five Premier League home games sitting at 7th in the Premier League. What has happened to our once Great Club we would always beat the likes of Wolves and give the top clubs a run for their money. Kat said when selling to Mr Gao he was the man to take us forward. I am afraid it doesn't look like we are moving forward to me. Mr Gao now needs to find another Nicola Cortese or someone with drive to run our club and get rid of the goons that are running it now.

BoondockSaint added 17:21 - Oct 2
peterdoors1-Stop comparing us to Bournemouth!
Remember, as Ralph says, we are a "small club".
We can't be dreaming to be like them!

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