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Southampton 2 v 3 Manchester United
Barclays Premier League
Sunday, 29th November 2020 Kick-off 14:00
Saints V Manchester United The Verdict
Sunday, 29th Nov 2020 18:06

Just as it looked like we were going to move into 3rd in the table, the wheels came off in big style as Saints handed Manchester United victory from the jaws of defeat, but we now have to dust ourselves down and get going again.

Saints didn't look right at Wolves and this was the case again against Manchester United, we looked slow both mentally and physically with too many players having off days.

Without naming names there were few out there who will have come off pleased with their performance, too many times we needed an extra second on the ball and got caught out, or we switched off mentally and got caught out.

We could easily have been two down before we had got started, we had to weather an early bluster from United that saw errors hand the visitors chances, one came when McCarthy seemingly called for the ball as Vestergaard let it run but the keeper stopped and was relieved to see Rashford fire into the side netting when it looked simple to score.

The second came when McCarthy kicked the ball straight to a United player, he saved the subsequent shot and then made a great second save, but he should really have had to make either.

After weathering the first 20 minutes it was Saints who took the lead when Jan Bednarek headed home a James Ward Prowse near post corner and 10 minutes later it was 2-0 when Ward Prowse himself sent an unstoppable free kick that was less than an inch from the post.

Saints looked well in control for the rest of the half and you hoped that we had turned the corner.

For the first 15 minutes of the second half we looked likely to score the next goal and if we did that it would have demoralised United, instead we gave the ball away cheaply on the hour mark and letting United back into the game.

It looked like we had weathered another storm with 16 minutes to go, but then we switched off again, McCarthy flapped as a corner and when the ball came back in again we had pushed up but Jannik Vestergaard hadn't reacted and stayed back to play Cavani well onside to have a free header to equalise.

Now things looked dire, but we dug in and although we still kept giving the ball away cheaply we looked likely to hold on as the 5 minutes of injury time headed for the half way point.

But then we switched off again we gave the ball away yet again, we allowed Marcus Rashford time to put the ball into the box and there was Cavani again free to head home.

We had handed them the game on a plate, because we couldn't seem to do the basics when we needed too, how many times did we want that extra second on the ball, how many times did we hold on to it and get robbed in possession when there was a pass on and how many times did we try and play our way out of things when United had played us at our own game and pressed us hard ?

But the game is over and we now have to move on, we have 8 days before the next game and Ralph Hasenhuttl has to rally his troops and freshen things up, truth is we looked weary and with injuries in key areas we couldn't make much needed changes.

But it isn't the end of the world, it can still be a good season, as I said in the preview we have to make sure one defeat doesn't become two, we have to make sure we bounce back from this in the next couple of games.

Hopefully the return of Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond will offer us some options we badly lacked today, Ralph will have learnt something about his squad today, hopefully his players will have also learnt that yes they can compete with the best, but you cannot let up even for a minute.

As I have long said on this site, "It is never about what you have just done but what you do next"

Photo: Action Images

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schatfield added 18:13 - Nov 29
I would still rather lose games 2-3 like that than win 1-0 playing absolute awful like in the west brom v Sheffield game. We are a great team to watch win or lose so look on the bright side! Plus JWP free kicks just seem to be getting better and better!

codge added 18:23 - Nov 29
Without naming names only l will, thought Che, Theo and JWP, played well to many times we gave the ball away and the usual suspects to blame.Vestergard asleep for both of the Cavani goals how you give him so much room in the penalty area like we did is baffling.
Still it had to come to an end but to lose it like we did was very disappointing.Need Redmond back hopefully along with Ings we will get going again,has been a great run though.COYR.

IanRC added 18:28 - Nov 29
Can't understand some idiots slagging off Adams and D'Jenepo elsewhere. Thought United were lucky, where did 5 minutes of injury time come from Utd made 2 subs at half time and no injuries in the second half. Disspirting to see the cheque book win again.

wibbersda added 18:31 - Nov 29
At least we are scoring without Ings

saintmark1976 added 18:53 - Nov 29
I’ve posted it before and until something changes I will keep saying it. For reasons only known to himself, when it comes to the use of substitutions Ralph is simply not at the races. If he wants us to play a high pressing game as today then why does he continually wait so long before replacing players who the world and his wife can see are simply out on their feet?

Add in the fact that he kept Ings on at Villa when we were four goals up with less than thirty minutes to play and to me it points to a serious gap in his otherwise good management ability.

underweststand added 18:54 - Nov 29
I think you (Nick) were a little more critical than Ralph was (in TV interview) and we lost to a couple of better players who became their match-winners. We survived the first 20 minutes, got two goals inspired by Prowsey and might have had a third had Walker- Peters' shot had gone in and not hit the post. Clearly a player of Cavani's experience is a new broom at United and it will take a few games before teams figure out how to neutralise him, but he's clearly worth the purchase for United at this time.
A lot of conflicting opinions on players ; my TV commentator was praising Adams for his tireless battle as a loan striker marked by two, sometimes three defenders.
Djenepo will improve but after that long layoff he is still not looking like the live wire we saw when he arrived. Romeu had a poor game I thought, and Vestergaard has hopefully learned a bit more about how to handle the likes of Cavani.
Ward-Prowse would have been MoM had it been a draw with his inch perfect corner and the free kick goal by narrowest of margins against one of the best keepers in the World. Disappointing YES, but discouraged - NO.
Thankfully we won't have to play United every week.

LordDZLucan added 18:56 - Nov 29
Where did that 2nd half performance come from? That's the worst defending I've seen by us since the Leicester debacle last season. Inexcusable.

ElijahK added 19:03 - Nov 29
Sorry but our passing from certain positions was just poor yet again, and as per usual the same 3 players stood out! (Vestagaard, Djenpo and Romeu)
I mean we should NEVER be dropping a 2-0 lead to a team within 30 minutes! Romeu was just the same as usual being great in midfield just such sloppy passing, with Djenpo being his usual self doing all the skills and then taking that step too far and giving the ball away! But Vestaggard should be dropped for Brighton seeing that 2 of the goal was his fault! I mean why he just stood there day dreaming instead of pushing up with the team is just poor, and as much as he’s great with his talked and defending, he’s just too bad at passing which is too important to ignore seeing how much our tactics rely on passing!
I mean in the end we’ve just seen the classic saints from before lockdown last season as we didn’t change enough when we were getting threatened at 2-0 and the same players stood out for being poor! Hence why I think that if Ings is back for Brighton then he should be on instead of Djenpo (with Walcott going to a winger position), let Diallo have a game instead of Romeu and drop Vestagaard for Stephens

SanMarco added 19:14 - Nov 29
I thought we simply didn't play very well today. 2-0 at HT flattered us. The only time we had any control at all was in the few minutes after 2-0 when Manure were rattled.

I know that Ralph has been granted God-like status in recent weeks but I really think he should have done something early in the second half. There was a feeling of inevitability about the way Manure came back into the game. Without having to play particularly well it always looked like a game that was going to end 2-2 or 2-3. We might as well have shut up shop like we did in the second half vs Man City a few months ago or like the home Manure match after Danso was sent off last year. All three Manure goals, although they didn't come from outright blunders, felt preventable.

It's not the end of the world though - just a shame that the defeat we were going to have at some stage soon after such a good run had to come against this lot and in the way it did. To be brutally honest they were a goal better than us - I just wish, if we had to lose 2-3 the scoring hadn't gone quite like that!!

PS Am I right in saying that Jan Nednerak has scored in three games for us, all at home, all games we took a 2-0 lead in and all games we ended up 2-3 in?????

AmericanSaint added 19:19 - Nov 29
I agree with you Nick that our passing was very poor today. I would disagree about AM flapping at that corner as he got a hand to it, just not as strong a punch as he would have liked. People blaming JV for the two goals are blind. While it would have been perfect had he pushed up on the 1st Cavani goal, he had to drop back to cover the right side of the goal as AM was getting back in position. The 2nd Cavani goal came from the poor challenge at midfield and then a pin point cross by Rashford to a darting Cavani. Also, all the people slagging off on Djnepo were not watching the same game. He owned Wan-Basaka the whole 1st half. The games shows that it can be a game of two halves. I am more disappointed in mental game we had after they scored the second. We initially pushed for a winner, but then it seems like we couldnt even clear the ball well. Sometimes putting your foot through it to the other goal is ok. Well need to pick ourselves up and get ready for the next one. I think this shows how we can get our hopes up too high and then are disappointed so quickly. Hey - we are almost halfway to 40 points and it isnt even December yet. Let's put a string of wins/no loses together again and we will ok come the new year. COYR.

mattlegod added 19:51 - Nov 29
Worst part was the second utd goal. Too many players watching and hoping their team mate will close down. What a waste. Still.. it's just one game and we march on..

halftimeorange added 19:58 - Nov 29
I think we have to accept that right now Saints have a good team and we should beat most others outside the big six but, we haven't the quality in depth to regularly beat a side fielding a number of Ings class players. Today, once our initial flurry was over we became sloppy with our passing. Not every player but, enough to hand the game to Man U. There were signs of this against Wolves who are about our standard. Ralph needs to remind our starting eleven that we can't allow classy opposition any leeway if we are to snatch a few points here and there against the top teams.

Colburn added 20:26 - Nov 29
The reason the players took one or two touches too many is because we stopped trying to attack a few mins in to the second half. Handed the initiative to Utd as they knew we weren't going to make great efforts to get a 3 goal lead. Hence the usual forward ball outlet for the full backs was cut off. The same happened at Wolves, a reluctance to play the ball forward to a free man, instead turning into trouble. You can only blame the manager for this change in mindset, we've had the warnings as at Villa and maybe this is why we have lost so many points from winning positions over the last 2 years. You can maybe play this way when two up against some teams like West Brom but against Utd and the bigger teams, you just hand them the initiative, remove their fear and hand them the game.. If we are running out of steam, then make earlier substitutions! Very disappointing to see us continue to do the same thing when leading against good teams who look there for the taking but to be fair, we have been fantastic recently and can't complain about the overall picture.

davidargyll added 20:49 - Nov 29
I think you are being really boring in your criticisms Nick. Man U squad is worth more than HALF A BILLION POUNDS ffs. Vs us worth £100m maybe? And If you look at our results this season against the big 6, we drew with Chelsea, got smacked by Tottenham and were narrowly beaten by Man U. Now I don’t think that’s too bad in all honestly. Yes we made some balls ups today in our defending but for all that we are still bordering on a europa league place. But face it we simply don’t have a big enough squad to be a top 4 side. Or at least not yet a while.
So please cut the team some slack. We play some great football. We try really hard. And we are fantastic to watch. But we simply don’t have a Cavani on our bench. GET REAL pur-lease!

sandywelsh added 21:27 - Nov 29
What good is it putting Diallo on late in the game he offers us nothing. All he did today was give the ball away for the third goal. I dont think Djenepo does enough to warrant a starting place in the team. Walcott had a good game and never stops running. McCarthy had a great game last week but today he was back to some of his old ways.

saintlee added 21:48 - Nov 29
Boy o boy do we miss Ings. Moussaka baffles me. Loads of pace and loads of skill and still he won't have a go at his full back. Armstrong has not been at it. He gave Wolves their goal the other night and wasn't great today. Not convinced with Theo being down the middle. Would rather have him wide and have Longy up front with Che. Just my opinion.

schatfield added 22:32 - Nov 29
@davidargyll exactly! But most fans would rather moan and complain rather than appreciate what we have

SaintPaulVW added 23:28 - Nov 29
Our winning run was going to end at some point. For all this talk this week about this playbook, it seems like just like the Wolves game we are missing a few chapters on how to hold onto a lead.

Once again Shane Long comes on and instead of changing our style of play - start playing the ball into space for him to run into, we carry on making short passes so wasting him even bringing him on, again. Not too sure what Diallo is learning 5 minutes at a time.

Agree, we looked tired in the second half.

Just got to dust ourselves down and go again


MRHALL93 added 08:24 - Nov 30
A hard pill to swallow after losing a two goal lead to lose a match and concede the winning goal in added time. Although, we didn't deserve the half team time we could've done more to try and hold onto it.

But we did deserve to lose today, we were sloppy in possession for majority of the game. Similar to Wolves we never looked like stringing a few passes together in Midfield. Our tactics simply seemed like we wanted to get the ball forward as quick as possible and pray on United making mistakes defensively. This worked for short period of the game, after we took the lead as United looked completely rattled.

I agree with what a lot of you have said. If we find ourselves 2-0 up, this is when we need to be more aggressive going forward to try and get a third or you park the bus like we did against city and shut them out. As it was, we did neither and the team tired very early on in the second half, we were caught out defensively for the 3 goals we conceded. But we also shouldn't take anything away from the quality of Cavini, his movement for the winning goal was quality and the ball from Rashford was on a plate for him.

We were going to lose at some point. I just think the manner in which we lost will cause the fan base, the most upset. I think Ralph needs to put more trust in the younger squad players, I saw Diallo was mentioned and I can't help but feel sorry for the kid, he's meant to be the next Kante and we're bringing him on for Armstrong every game and playing him out of position, put some trust in him, maybe bring him on for Romeu. If he's the player he's rumoured to be then surely we would've found that energy helpful in midfield toward the end of the game.

Farlow added 09:19 - Nov 30
We were being overrun in midfield and Ralph sends on Shane Long who ive never seen tackle anyone.I believe the main reason we lost was because both our fullbacks gave the united wide men too much space,if you push forward you have to be able to get back.

redwight added 10:06 - Nov 30
A perfect example of why 5 subs should never be allowed. A maximum of 3 was enough to demonstrate the difference in financial clout between the top 6 and the rest. As to the game, Jermaine Jenas hit every nail on the head in his MOTD summary.

dirk_doone added 10:16 - Nov 30
We were winning 2-1 until Long came on for Djenepo . The same thing happened when he replaced Gabbiadini in the League Cup Final. United must love seeing him replace one of our players. He poses zero goal threat, stops our attacks and gives possession away to them. It's almost like playing 10 men against 12.

ItchenNorth added 13:54 - Nov 30
Even at 2-0 we looked second best. As soon as Utd pulled a goal back the writing was on the cards. This game really showed that in the Premier League if you switch off at any point, you will be punished.
Onto the next though. Plenty of positives to be had this season so far.

Saint4Life247 added 15:17 - Nov 30
Bit of a tough result to stomach. When we went 2 up and almost had a 3rd I really thought it was going to be our day. However, like many have mentioned the fatigue set in with half hour to go and after which we really struggled. Personally I feel this the biggest thing Ralph needs to address. Against the smaller clubs its not so bad as they will be tiring too and often we can see the game out. Against bigger opposition we are going to come unstuck almost every time. Perhaps the hope is that Diallo and Salisu will eventually get into the starting 11 and give us more energy - who knows?
Anyway, I still continue to remain encouraged and hopefully we'll be back to winning ways against Brighton next Monday.

Monksway added 15:56 - Dec 1
Man U wage bill £332 million - Saints £60 million - Shefff Utd £13 million. MU have nothing to celebrate scraping a3-2 win. They are the other mega rich (not big) clubs should thrash the rest of us everytime we play them. That they don't is testament to how well we played and how hopeless they are.

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