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Little Steps Again On Saturday At Manchester City
Thursday, 31st Oct 2019 11:41

Some Saints fans were critical of Saints display at Manchester City on Tuesday night labelling it abysmal, I'm not sure what they were expecting from a visit to the Premier League Champions.

Saints travelled to the Etihad on Tuesday on the back of the club's worst ever defeat and with problems in the back four that cannot be solved immediately, so I am not sure what some fans expected from the game.

Many carried on from where they had left off on Friday night and slagged off the players and the performance, but it was never going to be a game where Ralph Hasenhuttl could just click his fingers and suddenly confidence, organisation and quality would be restored, this might not have been a full strength City side, but as was pointed out on Sky Sports by Gary Neville, Manchester City and Liverpool are just about the only two teams that can put out two starting XI of Premier League quality these days.

That meant being cautious then trying to build on that, from this perspective we got it virtually spot on, the first half was played mainly in our own half, but apart from two pieces of lax marking that gifted two goals we stayed tight and everyone including the goalkeeper did their job to make it only a two goal deficit.

In the second half we kicked on and took the game to City in the final quarter and we looked a good side.

Yes we lost 3-1 but the situation is what it is, most Premier League sides would take a 3-1 defeat at City any day of the week, some say our standards have dropped but in most of our trips to the Etihad in the past 15 years we have been beaten by two goals or more, so this was not celebrating not being stuffed, but in the fact that we still had enough character to dig in and get some plus points from the game.

We lost to Leicester because we crumbled after the first goal, just when we needed leadership being a goal or man down, there was no leadership on the pitch we started off again as if it was 0-0 and we were dominating the game with 11 men and suddenly we were 3-0 down with 18 minutes played and in complete disarray, the experienced men did not know what to do so, so how could the rest.

On Tuesday we still had no real leader but we had focus and stuck to our guns so we have to do that again on Saturday.

It will be much tougher they will have a better team out, but so will we, hopefully Ralph Hasenhuttl learn't a few things about his squad in the last two games and will know who he can trust now.

So we need to take a few more little steps on Saturday. we need to see the situation as it is, a defeat is not the end of the World, we get this game out of the way and we can then look to play teams we can beat.

If we are focused then we can achieve a moral victory and build our confidence up a little for the game that really matters against Everton a week later when we need everyone firing on all cylinders including the supporters.

So as much as the team need to take little steps in moving forward, so do Saints fans, we do not have a god given right to win any game, we are where we are due to issues that cannot be solved at least until January, until then we can look to win the games we can win and look to try and sneak something in games we can't.

We support a football club, we have to take the rough with the smooth, if you think this is the worst time ever then you weren't around in the 1990's when every year seemed to be a relegation battle, or the 00's where we slid almost into the abyss.

Clubs that recover do so because they put the past behind them and look to the future and accept that sometimes bad things need to happen in order to get better, in 2009 it was sliding into Administration and being within days of liquidation that made us all realise what the club is all about, lets make the 9-0 defeat that catalyst to kick start our season and make St Mary's a place we can win at again and the players enjoy playing in and the fans look forward to going.

Photo: Action Images

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bstokesaint added 12:46 - Oct 31
Man City are beatable. Norwich and Wolves have proved that. Neither are flying high in the Premier League, but if you play as a team things can be achieved, and to be honest neither of those two are high on confidence right now. If I’m honest if we lost by a margin of no more than 3 goals against a full strength Man C side and put in a decent, fighting display, this is nothing worse than some better teams have done, so it shouldn’t damage the confidence any further, maybe clearing the run for some more winnable games. I say “maybe” because I’m not sure how much of a team we really have and if they’re strong enough to play as one and under the manager. If not we need a shake-up ASAP.

HythePeer added 13:15 - Oct 31
Hasenhuttl has got the world laughing at Southampton, his player and tactical management is holed below the waterline.

SNAILOB added 13:43 - Oct 31
The problem with Tuesday, it was a cup game, a straight knockout match and we seemed to set up in order not to get battered. Yes, I do not expect Southampton to win this fixture but you have to go out with the mindset to compete/win.

Ralph wanted to ring the changes and yet picked the same predictable midfield three that have offered very little so far this season.

So what are we to expect on Saturday ? Another 8 defensive players sitting in own half waiting to be swamped ? The ironic thing on Tuesday was that once we ventured forward and put a bit of pace in the side with Adams & Redmond, we didn't look too bad. Maybe Ralph needs to go back to what we were promised at the start of the season and produce the high press game with a bit of pace (like we did against Liverpool & Man Utd). Unfortunately we are so far away from that at the moment.

Ripleys_revenge added 13:56 - Oct 31
I can't understand why fans' disappointment with Tuesday's game is surprising or unreasonable?? We could have lost that game 6 or 7 nil on the balance of play, only McCarthy being in goal stopped that from happening. We were absolutely awful for the entire game except for the last ten minutes, and that is only because Man City stopped playing.

No one expected us to win, no one even expected us to come close so a 3-1 defeat on paper actually feels quite a decent result. But the point is that the performance of the players was terrible once again. What is extremely disheartening is hearing from the likes of Jack Stephens and others after the game that they feel they actually played well and gave City a good game in the second half, ultimately restoring some pride! WHAT?!

Criticism aimed at the team on the back of Tuesday's game was as a result of the performance. We were sh!te, it's as simple as that. We got away with one by only losing 3-1, and for fans to draw attention to that fact is fair and valid in my opinion.

davidargyll added 13:58 - Oct 31
Great opening comment”... apart from two pieces of lax marking that gifted two goals we stayed tight”.
Reminiscent of “other then that Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?”


HythePeer added 14:38 - Oct 31
Same as Saints, then? One shot on target! 🤣🤣

Saintsforeverj added 14:53 - Oct 31

What has Gao done that has been good for our club?

What have us fans got to look forward to under his leadership? I would love to know.

If we have to sell to buy, then how are we going to buy a defender in January? Do you know?

What communication has there been from Gao or indeed anyone from the club, that the defensive issues will be sorted out in January? Is there money available in funds to sort out the squad? I doubt it after no fattening of the pig comments and sell to buy comments.

So why should I be positive about our future Nick?

JimmyMeliaPhD added 15:18 - Oct 31
The strawman in Nick's article is the idea that we critics thought Saints had a right to win that game. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I think what some of us did expect is that they'd actually TRY to win it. After all, as Nick conveniently doesn't mention, it was a cup game--why not give it a go? Instead we had a mind-numbing defensive tactical set-up, populated by pretty much the same old faces. And to my eyes it was true what a number of people said...the players looked not crushed but disinterested for most of the game. Perhaps a slightly more adventurous tactical set up might have made them a bit more enthusiastic?

codge added 17:50 - Oct 31
Why on earth would a Saints fan expect to pay good money to go all the way up to this game and figure we will try not to win but try not to lose by to many.That my friends is deceptive in the least,and a con job at worst,and to say we played so much better is putting blinders on and thinking the sun is shining at midnight.A disgrace to think we are that stupid and are not seeing it for what it was a joke.

wessexman added 18:06 - Oct 31
No one expected a result on Tuesday and after the mauling on Friday, I dare say few were slagging off the players. Most, if not every fan knows where the problems lie. It is patronising in the extreme not to expect fans to vent their fury frustration and sheer disbelief at what has been going on. A lot of us are fearful two lucky escapes from relegation are not going to followed by a third. We are not good enough and most of us know it. However we sugarcoat it.

saintmark1976 added 18:08 - Oct 31
Nick, I will keep it simple for you to answer your comment "what do fans expect". How about a genuine attempt to win a cup game and a manager who picks a team to this end and offers them tactics to accomplish the same? Not rocket science is it.

aceofthebase added 23:42 - Oct 31
I was extremely disappointed that RH kept JWP and PH in the midfield. They have proved ineffective in front of our defence and the same for providing opportunities to our forwards. This was an opportunity to make changes that could possibly show us the way forward for the rest of the season.

SanMarco added 23:43 - Oct 31
I understand the frustration about Tuesday's cup game. I would however ask those that wanted a high-risk attacking display whether they really were saying that with confidence before the game? I was wishing after the match that we had given it more of a go but that was after I had come out from behind the sofa and been relieved at a relatively narrow defeat. Ralph chose 1% chance of winning and 30% chance of a hammering over 5% chance of winning and 60% chance of a hammering. I simply wish we had stayed in touch by DEFENDING better in the first half.

As for Saturday - let's try DEFENDING better in the first half. Yes, we will almost certainly lose but even Man City will get ever so slightly edgy if they are not winning at HT.

LoisDeem added 12:45 - Nov 4
The problem -not encountered by any others in the PL -of trying to recover from a 9 -0 defeat at home.
The rocket surgery /brain science cliché bit is that it will take every ounce of concentration, effort and commitment over time starting immediately. Oh, and this experience doesn't improve anyone just yet, Ralph, and you'd better know it.

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