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Hasenhutl Hints At Rift With Ryan Bertrand
at 16:05:41

I'm inclined to go along with NewburySaint on this one.

Along with Yoshida.... Bertand is one of the most experienced - and oldest in the squad.
I'm glad we've still got them both, but Ralph has to justify the outlay on his new signings and unless they get game time, they will start to stagnate (as did Armstrong and Elyounoussi last season).

I'm pleased that the new guys have stood out in their brief outings, but they have to hit the ground running in order to prove themselves.

Bertrand (and Yoshida and Long) may play a bit less this season, but their combined efforts will prove valuable later in thr season in the case of injury or form-loss with the newcomers. .
Most players around 30+ know that their days of being first choice may have passed - if not gone forever. Bertrand will come again - but finding the right level of "youth and experience" is a balancing act for all managers - especially in the Prem.

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Saints Legend Chris Nicholl Struck By Dementia
at 19:38:54

I thought him to be outstanding as a CB and Captain during his playing days .
Tough, no nonsense player who always gave 100%.

He was successor to Lawrie Mac, and overall gave a good showing as a manager . although he did ruffle a few feathers along the way. I agree with Cotswold Saint about his squads in the later years, but was dumped by the Board because Saints ONLY finished 8th that season...!

When you consider who followed him as Manager... it would have been better to have kept him instead.
Sad to hear about his medical problems, but there are many fans who will remember him with pride - even if he might not recall everything himself.
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Ralph Hails Defensive Improvement ! But Is He Right To ?
at 11:35:11

3 clean sheets in 4 games is certainly an improvement, but we are some way away from looking at a "fixed" back 4 (or is it 3 plus wingbacks.?) Cedric may not have been MOM since his return but he's no worse than he was before. Clearly Djenepo is a better goalscorers than he is a defender, but the same can be sais of Gareth Bale when he wore played LB.
Danso looked good going forward wasn't overly-convincing either, but if we are expecting wing backs to look threatening going forward one minute and be top class defenders the next - it's a big ask.

We steadied up a bit on Saturday when Cedric switched to LB, but what happens now with Ryan Bertrand? I've praised Jake Vokins ever since he started as a 15 y.o in the U18 but Ralph has highlighted his shortcomings and he needs to be more convincing if he is to become the new LB.
So are we better in defence?...maybe another 5 games will give us a better idea, but IMHO ...every clean sheet is a sign of consistancy , and as last man .. Angus Gunn iseginning to look the part.
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Saints At Sheffield United The Verdict
at 18:46:47

OK Djenepo played out of position, but he scored the winner. It's the 3 pts. that matter.
Of course, VAR may go against us sometimes but you can only guess what the result may have been - had it not been there for everyone to see.

Everyone put in a shift and played their part. Just hope that Che Adams has patience enough to wait for his first goal....long dry spells have a bad effect of some strikers, and this wasa game where we started without Redmond AND Ings.

I've no complaint with Ralphs tactics / substitutions - as it creates new possibilites with another formation in the second half - if things aren't going according to Plan A.

If we are to have a respectable showing in the Prem. we need to beat the Brightons and the Sheffields in this league but now we face two "derby matches" within a week. Bournemouth because it would strenthen our league position, and Pompey - for obvious reasons- and a real chance of a Cup run.
Two wins would set the pattern for the season - otherwise it's back to the drawing board.

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Pompey Game Will Not Be A Bubble
at 09:28:21

My late father said that in HIS post War fan days (Wayman, Bates and that team) fans from both cities travelled to each other on those Saturdays when their own team played away....especially as Pompey had been Div.1 Champions (?) during that generation.
"Friendly Rivalry" took on a new look with fan/ gang violence and in our case was worsened by those feisty "encounters" between 5'8" Terry Paine and 6'4" Roy Lunnis which brought about sendings-off - over a short period of time in the early 1960's.'

I'm not sure if the historical references to " skummers" is still appropriate, (as few from that generation are still around to argue the point)...if so, they did a good job of sewing the seeds of anger and violence to future generations.

Having said that "derby" games frequently go against form, but in reality shouldn't be compared to current League form (or lack of it), as it's purely down to "local revenge".
There are very few players on either side who have actually experienced a derby game, but will know the wrath of their fans - if they lose.

After this game Saints will still be a Prem. side and Pompey will still be down in L1 (where some say they rightfully belong).
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Saints Summer Transfer Window Assessed
at 10:07:38

Clearly Che Adams was meant to be the "big signing", but he will endear himself more to fans when he starts scoring goals. His efforts in the Championship are well-publicised, but few players hit the ground running when they move up to the Prem. We need patience.

Djenepo and Danso made a mark from their first games, but they also need to learn that " life at the top" is a bit different from what they have come from. Yellow cards included.

Although not a NEW signing....suddenly Sofiane Boufal looks like the sort of player we hoped we'd bought when he came into Claude Puel's squad. He's showing up more as a real team player and looks set for a long stay if he can sustain the form he's shown so far.

Also not NEW...it suddenly looks like we may have found our new CB pairing. When Ralph arrived Jan Bednarek couldn't even make the bench in a Hughes squad, but has scarcely missed a minute under Ralph's tutelage, and I thought that Jannick Vestergaard "came of age " on Saturday -even if it took a year to do so. He was commanding in defence and scored a goal against United.
Certainly we've seen the sort of performances from these three that we hope to get when we sign new players for large fees.
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Late Loan Moves For Saints Trio
at 09:49:13

Your comments are well-made. If these players had shown talent at their previous clubs they weren't " bad buys ", but clearly became square pegs in our everchanging set-up.

Sometimes such players become outcasts when the team doesn't play a system that best suits their talents. I recall JayRod spent much of his first season stuck out on the left wing, at a time when Lambert was clearly "the main man". Tough luck.

Hoedt, Lemina and Elyounoussi all fall outside of the pattern that Ralph wants to play and as Carrillo was clearly Pellegrino's choice it's now up to him to prove that his judgement was correct. Boufal and Cedric have been given a lifeline to prove themselves afresh to Ralph and may ultimately stay, but only time will tell.

You also made the point about saving on salaries. Even if Saints are "subsidizing " their huge salaries, having them off the books for a year will be a major saving, and if they impress enough for their loan clubs to buy them, at least we may re-coup a little more.

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Saints V Manchester United The Verdict
at 06:24:29

AS a tailpiece to someof the above : Boondock Saint...Yes I try to reckon added time with the knowledge that every substitution ios calculated as 30 secs. and when every sub.is used that a standard 3 mins plus (by guess) 1 min. for an injury treated on the pitch.
Referees have an option to add-on time if they think there's been substantial time-wasting. After that? -well..your guess is as good as anyone's. Hence the infamous Fergie -time...and IMHO that equates with " Poch- time" nowadays considering the number of late goals that Spurs get in many games.

Which brings me to my point...Why is it that any time MU come to SMS and don't win ..alarm bells ring at Old Trafford. Are we so poor in their estimation?. With memories of the young MLT booting MU out of the League Cup in 1986, (and their bitter memories of 1976) ...losing even one point to us causes strong reaction in Manchester.
Dell defeats in the late 1990's (the 6-3 and those grey shirts) were typical lame excuses.
On (past) occasions, even Mourinho admitted that Saints were a good side - even when MU had just scraped a lucky win.

Yes they were short of some key players, but so were Saints...and TBF many have said that (had it not been for Danso's red card) we might have taken all 3 points.
Maybe our recent wins at OT is a factor, and it took an offside goal for them to win last season....certainly losing even one point to Saints shows their contempt for us.

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Saints V Manchester United The Verdict
at 18:32:05

Che Adams .(and Danny Ings for that matter) will come good in time, and though we didn't see goals from them, good chances were created, and next time they may go in.

Those who have posted above have covered most of the main points...Danso (and Djenepo) will have to learn about the Prem. PDQ....but they both look good prospects.
Boufal looks more like a new signing. Gone is the selfish, sulky individualist, but suddenly he has become a very good team player, and made a good sub. for Redmond.

Bednarek and Vestergaard are beginning to look like the real thing as first choice CB's, and although Valery will come again, it was nice to see a good contribution from Cedric.

Romeu looks to be back to the form he had a couple of years ago, and PEH did a captain's job, but does look a bit uncomfortable playing so far back. His best games have been playing alongside Romeu as DM's.

YES... I agree JWP hasn't set the World alight, but he does form a good partnership with Redmond which hasn't developed - so far this season.

We are 4 points better off than we were after the Liverpool game, and when we get everyone fit agai , and string together some results a more comfortable mid-table spot will feel a whole lot better.

Oh ..and Man Utd...I think OGS will have his work cut out moulding together a new team in the short term, and MU fans aren't the most patient in the Prem. All those years with Ferguson at the helm made them real champions. Yesterday they looked like an ordinary mid-table side for certain periods of the game.
Had we not lost Danso, we might well have taken the other two points as well.
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Carrillo Rejoins Club
at 18:06:08

Good news /bad news ?...at least he will be out playing football again and if Pellegrino is any sort of a manager.... he should know how to play him this time around. He was MP's choice of player and so if anyone can get something out of him - he ought to.

Leganes lost their top striker in the close season and so Carrillo should get a lot more game time and hopefully get some goals. If he does find form and starts to look good ,
then Ralph will have another striker... unless another club comes in with a suitable offer.

I agree with (you) Nick that Carrillo came into a very poor side that was being chopped and changed the whole time in an attempt to avoid relegation. In the games I watched he was getting almost no service, and marked out by 2-3 defenders much of the time.
I'm sure he did his best to try and adapt to the Prem. style, but a striker has to be played until he does score (take note Che Adams), and although he didn't score any goals, he did make two assists in games that might have got us a valuable point or two.

Let's hope he comes good this time ..for everyone's sake.
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Saints Have Three Out For the Manchester United Game
at 08:48:19

Like all clubs we must learn to cope with the injury situation but not forgetting the age old rule.....play those players who are in-form. We have to play the likes of Adams and Redmond until they start scoring, but we know that strikers are notorious for their goal droughts until they find form and then hit a purple patch.
Although he has yet to score, the "revived " Boufal is beginning to look like a good player and a decent showing against Man Utd will go a long way toward restoring him to a regular first team player.

There are many fans who might have put money on Shane Long never scoring again for Saints but at the tail end of last season he suddenly found the net 4 times in 6 games.

Ralph hinted that he might not demand Obafemi should play twice in a week, but the likes of Dan N'Lundulu might find his way onto the bench after recent showings in U23's. A bit of " a rough diamond" but with speed and energy and who knows how to finish, but unless we give the youngsters some game time we'll never know how they perform at the highest level.
Injury-wise ... the international break may help to heal a few wounds.
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The Real South Coast Derby Is On !
at 18:44:36

Don't think that any players...on either side have actually experienced a Pompey Derby,
so it's down to what the fans will make of it .

If Ralph thinks Bournemouth and Brighton are local derby games....someone needs to update him ASAP.
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Nathan Redmond Out For Weeks
at 18:41:17

looks like we'll see Shane Long in ...but now Ings and Adams are the only fit strikers.

Not good news - 3 weeks into the season and sitting in the bottom three.

Now it's up to Ralph to find a good start line-up ..after all it is only Man U.
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Ralph Is Taking The Cups Seriously This Season
at 15:12:37

I think that "someone" has had a serious word with Ralph and explained that teams like Saints ....and most of the bottom half of the Prem. have little/no chance of European football UNLESS they win one of the Cups.

This is something that Pochettino openly avoided and threw away two cup games against a very poor Sunderland outfit. Koeman got us into Europe as a top six finish but didn't show any real interest in the cup competitions. Puel got us to a Final more by luck than judgement - as did Pellogrino to an extent.
Hughes knows all about Cup competitons, but that didn't help in the end.

and so Ralph...this is it ...Win a Cup....and as long as we clear 40 points in the Prem. the fans will love you and you'll get the freedom of the City.
Europe may be on the distant horizon... but for now....a bit of Cup glory would satisfy 98% of the fans for sure.







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Saints At Fulham The Preview
at 14:53:25

OK it's Fulham....and they were relegated but we gave the game away at Craven Cottage last season.........so be careful Ralph.

Changes to Saturday ?.well if we don't play those who were on the bench at the weekend then they aren't likely to get much game time otherwise.
I'd change out the bench players for those who played Saturday and if things go badly..put the regulars on in the second half.

If we can't win this sort of Cup game in a good way, then we aren't going to get mucch better if we play "bigger teams " later on.
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Should Sofiane Boufal Stay Or Go ?
at 11:46:46

Aside from his award-winning goals ..Boufal didn't seem to fit in as a team player.
Puel tried to fit him in without success and both Pellegrino and Hughes just ignored him.

There may (still) be a language problem but Ralph seems to think he can utilise his skills , although I don't see him as a 90 minute player., I think he can be a great asset coming on a a second half sub. when we need a change of direction. He certainly has skill.

By the New Year we can see if he's paying dividends, otherwise if Ralph decides he can't use him , then he will certainly go next year - for better or worse.
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Is Moussa Djenepo The New Mane ?
at 13:44:40

Not an easy comparison Nick. How about a " young Redmond " . Nathan got a goal in his first game , but then went 8 games before he scored again and took time to adjust.
There is no doubt that Djenepo is an exciting player to watch, and the sort that gets the crowd going, but he has also managed 2 yellow cards in just 60 minutes playing as a sub.

There are differences between Bundesliga and the Prem. and although he is good on the ball it remains to be seen how he performs as a team player if Ralph decides to use him from the start. He's certainly capable of being a game changer , but its difficult to see who you might "drop" if he is going to start games.
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Saints At Brighton The Verdict
at 17:02:56

Completely off the board in the first half, and losing a player didn't seem to slow Brighton down at all. Enter Djenepo with a thunderbolt start and things began to look up.

Ings and Redmond needed to drop back to get a look at the ball and although JWP and Romeu worked theĆ­r socks off in midfield Brighton still had lots of possession.

Vestergaard had one of his better games, and Danso looks as though he can hold his own ..even playing out of position. With Boufal getting into the picture again, it seems that Ralph will continue to play every game in two halves and for the second game in a row we came on strongly in the last quarter.
Redmond deserved his goal for sheer effort in the previous 90 mins.
Now to see if we can catch MU on the hop next weekend.
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Good Luck Fraser Forster At Celtic
at 09:29:00

"Goalkeeper-confidence" is often the key to the final result. A striker may get 3-4 chances (and maybe score only once), but one mistake at the back can lose a game.

Goalies are often self-critical over mistakes, and there's no doubt the massacre v. Spurs took its toll on Forster, although he can't be solely blamed for the margin of that result.

There is a good keeper somewhere inside him, and rememeber that he set some sort of record by going 6 games with clean sheets some time back.

Reaction to adversity is important. Sunderland conceded a busload of goals whilst Pickford was their goalie, but it was water off a duck's back to him, and many years ago I heard the mythical tale of the Scottish keeper Frank Haffey, (who concede 7 goals in an international at Wembley) - only for him to turn to the crowd and "conduct" the choir of vitriolic abuse he was getting from his own fans behind the goal.

Adversity may come, but it's all down to how you handle it, and goalies need to have
"a thicker skin " than many other players when it comes to taking the blame.

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Saints Appoint New Assistant Coach For Hasenhuttl
at 09:01:44

Modern football is very technique-orientated when every kick is analysed "ad infinitum ".
This fellow is obviously "a bit of a nerd" for this type of video analysis which is rapidly replacing the 20th century model of .."the spy on the terraces ".

He's obviously on the same wavelength as Ralph and hopefully they can develop the right strategy for each game..then it's up to the guys on the pitch to do their stuff.
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