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Saints V Brighton The Verdict
Thursday, 1st Feb 2018 10:44

Once again Saints failed to win a game and although it moved them up a place, it was still a big disappointment.

The strange thing about this game is that I can't think of one Saints player who had a bad game, even the two substituted at half time did not play badly, they were just victims of the fact that Mauricio Pellegrino got his team selection wrong.

But if 11 players out on the pitch were not playing badly why didn't we win the game ?

The answer is that we did not play as or even look like a team, we lacked leadership both on and off the pitch and if you cannot fault the players, all proven at the highest levels, then there is only one place to look and that is the manager.

Indeed how could we have our four highest signings all on the bench ? why is Lemina costantly overlooked ? These are all puzzling questions which suggest that if the fans don't know what the manager is doing, nor do the players and to put it bluntly neither does he !

Brighton came out of the blocks quickly and should have been in the lead in the opening minutes and then did take the lead through a penalty, this was virtually their last significant effort on goal of the game which then fell into a familiar pattern, Saints having lots of possession but creating very few chances.

Indeed the best chance fell to Pierre Emile Hojbjerg's Arse in the first half when he charged down the goalkeeper and saw his effort rebound from the crossbar, that was Saints luck.

At half time Pellegrino made two changes and threw on Garrillo up front alongside Long and brought on Boufal instead of Romeu.

In fairness both looked likely and put in a shift, but this was 11 individuals and not a team performance.

When Saints equalised there was only going to be one sde that might win it, but despite huffing and puffing Saints never really looked like getting a goal and the game ended with a result that did little for either side.

The question now is whether pellegrino can survive, individually this is a talented squad, but having now had 7 months in charge Pellegrino is no nearer making this into a cohesive team unit than the day he joined, indeed they are far far away from where they were back in July even.

If he hasn't got it right now, I fear he is never going to be able to do so, as I say no one can accuse the players of not playing for the manager, no one could accuse them of not trying, but the fact is the manager is not doing his job and they do not know what to do as a team, they have no guidance and no direction.

The second half of this game was the first time all season that Pellegrino showed some bravery and tried to win a game, but this was not the match to throw on new signings and suddenly expect us to look like Barcelona.

Listening to a Brighton fan walking over the rail bridge after the game talking to a friend on the phone, he was reporting they were battered and hanging on, yet they did and that tells a story.

Something has to change in the camp and having failed to make major signings then there is only one change we can make and that is the manager.

I can understand why they have not done so so far, but now enoughis enough Les Reed has to accept that this appointment was wrong and a change has to be made, Pellegrino cannot claim he has not had a chance, there is not a team in the league who would allow a manager to keep his job after only one win in 16 games, that is an applalling record and one that would see a manager sacked at any club.

So a big set back for Saints but it is far from a terminal one, whoever is the manager we have to keep fighting to get that win under our belts and move up the table, we could have been 14th this morning with a win, but we aren't, but it shows that things are far from unrecoverable.

Saints need to get the feelgood factor back, they need to get the confidence back, they need to get the supporter base behind them, there is only one way this will all happen, action is needed now before it truly is too late.

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arfurdent added 10:49 - Feb 1
we should just realise that the club have decided to keep Pellegrino come what may and that this performance will go through to the end of the season. The die is cast, not good but that is it

stmichael added 10:56 - Feb 1
WE gave him 20 million this week to sign his mate..
Doesn’t look like we are going to get rid although I agree his position
is untenable..

TeamCortese added 10:57 - Feb 1

skiptonsaint added 10:58 - Feb 1
I am not sure they put in as much effort as they did against Spurs and their body language looked worringing. No leadership is a major problem

Now the window is closed and we can compare against our rivals it is clear we are one of the few teams weaker than the start of the window.

So as we can't do anything other than change the manager to get an uplift on our rivals I am going to suggest it reluctantly. Be odd on a 5 game unbeaten run as well but needs must

I would go for Silva. Yes he might leave us for a better offer but if so that means he has probably done ok and the football will be entertaining. He has something to prove and prob would t be such a dick at his next job.

Someone at the club needs to make a big decision and stop hiding , the loyal St Mary's crowd need a lift. The window has knocked the stuffing out of em and we need the 12th man back for the run in.

InsideOut added 11:00 - Feb 1
Good verdict. A line has been crossed now. Obviously, MP has to go but Les Reed hired and refused to fire him so his position is also untenable. No good manager will want to work for him anyway. They have to go in the next few days or it'll be too late anyway.

landsdownsaint added 11:01 - Feb 1
As Jeff Sterling said last night “ Shane long has scored 1 in 38” & how Lemina is overlooked is beyond belief !... Yoshida should also play as I don’t think Hoedt & Stephens are good enough.

REEDYREEDOREEDZ added 11:04 - Feb 1
Pellegrini reminds me of Hodgson going into Euro 2016. Hodgson over thought it all, got himself in a right state, playing people out of position, changing system every game, in the end it was a complete disaster. I think Pellegrino is in a similer state of mind.
We need to go back to basics. Ie when you bring on a target man at half time, you make sure you have some width, get the ball out wide and get some crosses in!!! We didn't put in a single decent cross in that 2nd half!!! Carrillo had zero service. People shouldn't judge him yet. Wait until he has a few chances then we can see if he can finish.
In the final third the players don't have a clue. They have no idea how to create a goal from open play. There is no guidance or gameplan when we get into that position. We bossed the game and had 18 efforts on goal but only 3 were on target because we didn't create any good chances.
The team has no creativity or forward drive from the centre of midfield. Steven Davis should not have been picked. He was useless. Why did Pellegrini once again pick three central midfielders who are useless going forward? At home to Brighton you can afford to play with one holding defensive midfield player (Romeu or Hoijberg), one box to box midfielder (Lemina) and Boufal or Tadic as a number 10. Its so obvious.
Pellegrini has to go now. His mind is in a state of total confusion. He really doesn't know how to set us up to win games. We're in a terrible mess and we're going down under his shambolic management.

Sanguin added 11:04 - Feb 1
Yes, something needs to change. I was willing to give the club the time to make signings in January since I felt that would have a bigger impact than changing manager. But with the transfer window now closed and only one new signing, my patience is running out.

Win at West Brom or I’ll firmly be in the Pellegrino out camp.

mgprobert added 11:06 - Feb 1
I suspect that having just got it wrong with Puel the management are reluctant to look as though they are panicking into another change. Perhaps the mistake was not backing Puel with a better squad.

So now they are hoping we can survive until the Summer and maybe change then?

You're right though the team doesn't look like a team and they are desperately short of confidence - playing too much safety first football with team selection and tactics, and on the pitch.... just when those around us are picking up unexpected results

VeloSaint added 11:08 - Feb 1
The team selection and tactics set the tone of the game and he should receive no praise whatsoever for changing it at half time. We should have had an attacking 11 that came out of the blocks and hit them hard. It's what Adkins, Poch or Koeman would have done... it was what I thought was part of the dna of the club in recent years.. The regression over the last 18 months is unbelievable. IF there was any leadership at the club then he would have been moved on before now. As he's still here this morning I assume he'll be in place for WBA where surely only a win can save him (but this has been said for months now). Winnable games are rapidly running out.

LordDZLucan added 11:19 - Feb 1
Nick, I sense a bit of biased reporting. If Jack Stephens or Maya Yoshida had given away that penalty you’d have been moaning that our failure to win the game was down to our inability to sign a quality centre back to pair up with your beloved Wesley Hoedt. But it was Hoedt that gave away the penalty and we hear nothing about it in your article. No mention either of Hoedt falling on his arse in the first couple of minutes and gifting Brighton a chance that they should have made count. You could view this as another 2 points that Wesley Hoedt has cost us. I prefer to focus on our inability to score goals but I am hoping that your decision to gloss over the glaring mistakes made by Hoedt means that you have now decided to bring to a close your endless criticism of our centre backs! And onto our inability to score goals – I did think that we looked more threatening in the second half with Carrillo in the centre and Long to his right. A bit more pace up top stops the opposition from playing such a high line and from pushing us back into our own half. Hopefully, we’ll play that combination against West Brom on Saturday.

SaintNick added 11:31 - Feb 1
I didnt comment on the penalty as I havent had a chance to view the replay, from watching it live the player danced around two players who failed to put a tackle in ( I didnt criticise them either)and then was brought down by Hoedt, was it a penalty ? the players didnt seem to think so, I will reserve judgement till I have seen it.

He is not my beloved Hoedt, I just feel he is a lot better than either Stephens or Yoshida, in fairness to Stephens he seems to be forming a partnership with Hoedt and I would prefer to see this pairing that any other pairing available at the club.

Is any of my "Endless" criticism of the centre backs not justified ? Did I dream that Yoshida failed to mark Vokes, Giroud and several others etc ?

Goal scoring is a problem but it would be made a lot easier if we didnt concede soft goals

Number_58 added 11:39 - Feb 1
Couldn't fault the effort, but a team with nobody capable of scoring any goals will not win any matches. One positive was Jack Stephens - I just wish he would make more runs forward as the opposition don't seem to know how to handle a centre back running at them. In my opinion, our season now depends on Charlie Austin. If he comes back soon and stays fit we might, just might, win enough games to stay up. How did it come to this?

trampslykeus added 11:45 - Feb 1
It looks to me as if MP has lost some of the dressing room. Boufal, Lemina and Gabbiadini on the bench and not looking a bit interested if/when they come on. Also Redmond totally missing again (not missed though). We can only stay up if 3 teams manage to be worse than us.

SaintBrock added 11:54 - Feb 1
The most interesting thing on our horizon now will be the fall out from the now inevitable relegation. Only that will bring about any change upstairs or on the bench. We need regime change badly but it is not so easy with a privately owned club as a plc. All we can hope for is that a group of local business people will get together and buy the club back from Gao and then go public.


SanMarco added 12:09 - Feb 1
To be fair Puel didn't often get much out of these players and a less experienced and less shrewd manager has struggled more hence the further decline. Is the squad a bunch of very good players being managed by a donkey? I don't think so - yes the manager may be out of his depth but the people responsible for assembling the squad and then appointing a poor manager are ultimately to blame. Watching that last night finally convinced me that relegation is a VERY REAL possibility. Change of manager? Who is available NOW? I don't know but if we were going to change it should have been done after the Palace debacle...

saintkev added 12:09 - Feb 1
Given 24 hours in charge of Saints: 1) Sack Pellegrino 2) Apologise to Gabbi for mis-using him 3) Instruct the team we are now playing 4:4:2. 4) Coach the team to play the ball forward occasionally 5) Check on Chazza's fitness 6) Pray

Consigliere added 12:10 - Feb 1
The manager says that he feels as though he is sitting in the electric chair, and he is not wrong. The analogy goes further than that I am afraid. The straps have been fixed to his ankles and wrists and the wires hooked up to the grid. The executioner is looking across the room to the sheriff and he is on the phone to the attorneys, who are waiting to hear if there has been a last minute stay of execution.

The W Bromwich game will probably decide whether the executioner throws the switch, but even if we win, its only back to the cell on death row for a stay of execution until the end of the season. Then the decision should be made as to whether his appeal will be allowed in full.

Why is this? Well we are just long-suffering fans but we aren't all stupid. We can see that the team selection is wrong most of the time and that they aren't playing as a cohesive unit, especially in the final third of the pitch where there is either no idea what to do or the players are being actively encouraged to pass across the pitch or backwards rather than running at the opposition. This isn't a bad set of players, they are just not playing well together. That, I regret to say, comes down to the manager, hence my opening grim observations.

Keesie66 added 12:12 - Feb 1
Southampton FC have become a business and are no longer a football club for the fans. Its become about £'s not points. No communication from board/club to fans, its disgraceful... £75 million in £19 out, 1 point v Brighton and WBA coming up... think the board is settling for Championship next season otherwise how do you explain the minimal effort in strengthening the team in January, keeping this manager and just hoping Carillo will fix it .... mass exodus end of season which GAO can add to £75 VVD, parachute payment in and there you have it..... we are indeed a "little/small" club Ralf.... or business .....

ChristchurchSaint added 12:12 - Feb 1
You say there is nothing wrong with the players Nick, but I partly disagree here. I agree that there is nothing wrong with the ability of the players, however what is glaringly obvious is that they just seem totally downhearted, confused or whatever. For the best part of this season, very few of them actually look as if they want to be on the pitch. I can only presume, as has been suggested, that MP has lost the dressing room. Players are professional, and presumably are playing the game because they love it, but at the end of the day they are also human. I have had managers in life who have inspired me in my work, and those that I just go through the motions for. I don’t like Hughes, and don’t really like Silva, because of the way he behaved with the Everton affair ( sounds familiar, ask Koeman!), however my view is, get rid of MP, bring one of them in until the end of the season, regardless of their salary requirements, and add a hefty bonus if we stay up. It will cost us much much more if we go down.

LordDZLucan added 12:25 - Feb 1
All I'm saying, Nick, is that if you're going to criticise the centre backs then be even handed. For example in your response to my post you didn't mention Hoedt giving Lukaku a free header, getting beaten out on the left wing in the build up to Murray's goal at Brighton and giving Bournemouth a goal on a plate. I prefer not to criticize individuals but I do get drawn into doing just that because of your bias against certain individuals. I prefer to concentrate my fire on what's going wrong with the team.

dirk_doone added 12:50 - Feb 1
We don't have a goal scorer. If we had one, we'd have won last night and many other of our draws would have been converted into wins as well, so we would now be sitting comfortbaly mid-table. That is a bigger problem than the manager. Of course, we all know the manager is not very good. That is no surprise. Every manager Reed appoints is worse then the previous one, and the next one probably will be too.

greigwalliss1969 added 12:51 - Feb 1
Nick, i think you jailed it there. I believe that Les Reed has already made his mind up to get rid, hence not spending anymore. Who else is out there at the moment? SIlva yes but he leaves all clubs after a few months because he is so ambitious and therefore that is not want Saints want unless on a deal to the end of the season. We need stability hence giving Pellegrino the time. I believe we would be 10th or higher if Puel was still here. He only played wiht the cards he was dealt and set the team up to minimise the damage because of our defence and lack of goals.
SO in essence he needs to go, i think that is known but who is his replacement. Ideally I would like to see Koeman back he was a great manager and motivator but his replationsip with LR is gone so it is whether Saints as a club feel he is the right man no matter what personal feeling are.....frustrating and upsetting.

bstokesaint added 12:53 - Feb 1
Yet another disaster. A must win game and it never really felt like it would happen. The worst thing is I think I’ve gone past the point of angry. I’m just so used to seeing key failures at the club these past two seasons, it feels like the norm. Last season was a warning and should have been a wake-up call, but either through complacency, arrogance or naivety we are really in the brown stuff now. I don’t even really know who is to blame. Is Les Reed at fault for the players not coming in and the manager staying or are his hands tied by the board/owners? Has he been told there is no money to spend? As fans I don’t feel we have a clue on what is going on behind the scenes, but we could all do a better job both on and off the pitch. It’s an absolute face. We are the laughing stock of the league and no-one is going to feel sorry for us when we get relegated. And it is “when” not “if”. Only question is whether we’ll be 18th, 19th or 20th.

dirk_doone added 12:53 - Feb 1
I agree with Lord Lucan. Stephens is a talented youngster learning his game. It takes many years to become a reliable central defender. Hoedt, on the other hand, has no such excuse. He reminds me of Hooiveldt. He gives the impression of being OK but he is always worth a goal to the opposition

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