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Saints At Burnley The Verdict
Sunday, 25th Feb 2018 10:05

Suddenly a goal came out of nowhere and pulled Saints out of the bottom three, what are the plus and minus points from this game.

Although Burnley were in a worse run of form than even Saints, this was never going to be an easy game and it was a tale of two sides who put caution before trying to win the game.

No one was complaining about the side that Saints put out, although some would not have picked Nathan Redmond and would have preferred Pierre Emile Hojbjerg or even Josh Sims, the reality was this was a side that most would have selected bar one change, that being the case the focus was on Mauricio Pellegrino to make it work and take home the points.

It was evenly matched with few real chances and Saints looked to have a game plan of keeping it tight and then looking to win it late on.

That game plan went out of the window in the 67th minute when Burnley scored a goal out of nowhere, did Saints go to sleep ? I would have to say yes for about the only time in the game we lost a bit of concentration and paid the price.

After the goal Pellegrino threw on Josh Sims for JWP, then Sofiane Boufal for Oriol Romeu and then finally Manolo Gabbiadini for Tadic, none of these substitutions seemed to change the game much although Sims made a decent chance for himself and drew a good save from the keeper via the post, at least he was wiling to have a go.

But then in the final minute suddenly the game changed and perhaps the season, with the supporters turning on the manager and many offering abuse rather than encouragement to the team something changed.

Ironically it was referee Bobby Madley who started the move when he got in the way of a Burnley player, Sean Dyche whinged like mad after the game and even suggested that Madley should have given Burnley a free kick during the move to even things up, but the fact remains that the ref is part of the pitch and it is down to players to avoid him not the other way round and Madley was not exactly blocking a Burnley player in the penalty area but exactly where you would have expected him to be.

But then came what could be the best worked goal of the season for Saints, Nathan Redmond has come under fire but he did exactly what you wanted from him, he carried it forward and created space, he laid a perfect pass for Josh Sims who had overlapped and from his cross Guido Carrillo headed the ball down for Manolo Gabbiadini to lose his markey swivel and fire home.

Suddenly Saints had a bit of luck and this goal pulled them out of the bottom three, if we can do this a few more times then we won't have many problems.

So was the comeback the result of Pellegrino's bold substitutions as some media reports have suggested, certainly Saints played with a lot more urgency as the game went on and the stats say we had a lot more chances than the home side and twice as many shots on target.

But there did not see to be many Saints fans in the visitors section espousng that theory as the minutes ticked down on the clock, there were more than a fair few more interested in hurling abuse at Pellegrino in the final minutes than supporting the team and raising them to s spirited ending, more than one person told me afterwards that they felt that those around them seemed almost disappointed that we had equalised !

So is this the start of the end of season surge towards safety ? or is Pellegrino really so hated by so many Saints fans that they won't allow him to succeed.

The last 15 minutes or so did see a sense of urgency in the players lacking not only in the first 75, but for many games this season, was this down to their own endeavors or the manager ?

The board are clearly not going to sack Pellegrino before the end of the season now, not unless there is a dreadful run of defeats, so some have to ask themselves this question, do they want to see Saints go down so they can tell people I told you so, or would they prefer that we battled out of trouble and perhaps even had a Wembley appearance to cheer up an otherwise troubled season.

If it is the former than I would suggest that you stay at home and save your money, yes I know that the stock answer to that is " I have paid my money I'm entitled to my opinion" no one is saying that you should not tell the world what you think, but those of us who prefer the latter option, would prefer that you stay at home and do it on social media rather than turning an atmosphere toxic at games of football where we need every point.

This is not happy clapping, we all know things are not right, but the bulk of us are "supporters" of Southampton Football Club and if you don't know what the definition of supporter is in the dictionary then look it up, there will be plenty of time for ranting after the final game.

For me this was an awful game, but I am not interested in whether I'm being entertained for the rest of the season, I'm interested in picking up enough points to stay in the Premier League, so from that point of view it is a step forward, as the saying goes We March On !

The new slogan should be "Be part of the solution not the problem"

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sidsaint added 10:24 - Feb 25
If we want to see forwards not centre backs score our goals, play 2 up front Carillo and Gabbiadini plus good service. Come on MP you know it makes sense.

OldRed added 10:31 - Feb 25
Will staying in the Premier League be seen as a success? This season should have been a whole lot better....unless we also win the FA Cup!

WestSussexSaint added 10:41 - Feb 25
Bobby Madley is far from my favourite ref ever since a game against Chelsea a couple of years ago when he might as well have been wearing a blue kit. But yesterday he went someway to repairing the damage. Thank you Bobby.

As for Saints it us vital to keep this run going of being hard to beat. My only fear is that we need to get a few wins in the next 3/4 games as the run in looks really difficult. Keeping the faith....For now!


wessexman added 10:44 - Feb 25
Interesting take on things. I do not believe Saints fans are willing to see us go down in order to prove a point. What I do think is most fans are horrified at the way this season and last season have panned out. A golden legacy has been squandered. The manager is not going to be sackde...this is quite clear. But, isn't this all we need to know about the way the club is being run? I do agree on one thing. Next Saturday is now the most important game for a long time. I dare say every fan will get behind the team on Saturday. But, win or lose......this board is going to have to come up with a coherent strategy. Whether we stay up or get relegated.....the big question is...HOW did we get ourselves into this mess?

sholingred added 10:46 - Feb 25
The Burnley goal was bundled over with his arm and should have been disallowed ,next up stoke and we need everyone getting behind the team i think who ever loses this game is down COYR

no7saint added 10:46 - Feb 25
Agree with this article, while we're not winning games we are not losing many either and for all his faults, I think we're beyond the point in the season now where sacking the manager will be productive. Of course sometimes you get lucky and the "bounce" but as West Brom have proved it can go the other way.

Whatever happens I can't see the board sticking with Pellegrino beyond this season so surely the sensible thing is to get behind the team and give them the confidence to play more on the front foot. If we do that I can see us just about surviving, that will put us in a far better position to attract a quality manager than if we drop into the Championship. Between now and then let's be objective on the only thing that matters and that is staying up.

SanMarco added 11:03 - Feb 25
I always think the angry brigade, whatever their motives, should wait until the final whistle or when the game is well and truly lost. There are those within said brigade who NEED to be angry and therefore perversely might be 'happier' if we are doing badly. As for the match - choose your cliche - the late equaliser gives us 'the lads showed character' and that is the best I can think of to take out of a pretty dire game. I am already getting nervous about the Stoke match and if I could have a tenner for every time it is called a 'six-pointer' between now and kick-off I would have a fair few bob in my pocket...

davepid added 11:06 - Feb 25
I was there and shared the despair of those around at a poor saints performance . On reflection though Burnley are a hard team to beat at turf moor. When did we last put in a performance there?
They rarely concede once they go one nil up at home , they’ve only conceded a goal a game all season ( more or less ) and they are 7 th in the league.
So a draw was an ok result from a saints team that has stood still since the league cup final and whose new signings don’t seem to have hit the floor running.

skiptonsaint added 11:13 - Feb 25
It was a very different atmosphere in the away end yesterday compared to West Brom. Maybe it was the cold of lack of numbers (fully understandable with so many aways coming up) and the team showed it with the way they left the pitch pretty quickly with only really Stephens Hoedt and Redmond showing much thanks to the away end.. was it MPs instructions ? I didn’t see him stick 2 fingers up at the away end but if he did it would be a new low between fans and playing team and staff.

The vital link between fans and team for Stoke starts with his selection on sat. All this week we are going to hear calls for Gabbi and Carillo to start together up front and attack Stoke and Sims come in with a start. We liked so much better with him on and he looks fresh.

If he does that I think the crowd will get behind the team and give em the benefit of the doubt if it doesn’t go well at the start. . If he doesn’t and we go one down I think we may see a new level of toxicness at St Mary’s

Surely Les can see this and step in and everyone can be sensible about Saturdays team. If that doesn’t work at least MP can say I have given you fans what you wanted so back to my way 4231 for last 9 games

And if it does work we could seriously push on and put a fear factor back to teams who have to work us out ...

Please MP , don’t be stubborn

saintmark1976 added 11:15 - Feb 25
"or is Pellegrino really so hated by so many Saints fans that they won't allow him to succeed".

Come on Nick, I know you are the Saints cheer leader in chief (and you have every right so to be) but there is a difference between blind faith and being a supporter. Saints fans are not responsible for where the club currently finds itself. That distinction rests squarely at the feet of the owners and managment. You can't realistically expect people who spend thousands of pounds watching a team without them having the right to express their opinion,be it at the ground or via social media.

goalie66 added 11:16 - Feb 25
The result should not gloss over the fact that this was a terrible game of football. Not the first this season either. It is the lack of energy that concerns me coupled with a lack of leadership both on and off the pitch . We lack courage and bravery for 80 minutes until Sims came on and ran and attacked defenders. It will be courage that keepos us up not caution.

the_saint added 11:22 - Feb 25
Totally agree with you nick we have got to get behind the boys until the end of the season no booing we have to be the 12th man at the end of the season it’s up to the board to do their job and sort this mess out. But please mp play Carillo and Gabbi up front together Carillo is so good at holding it up and laying it off and Gabbi would have a field day feeding off him

A1079 added 11:51 - Feb 25
I don't know whether to praise you for your summary or to feel annoyance.

You are right, we need to get behind the team. Pellegrino is here to stay for this season now, come what may. By and large the away support has been very vocally supportive, but I concede there were some discontent yesterday, but I would say, that that was down to the turgid football on offer, the long distance and money people had paid and that feeling, what was the point - if they out on the pitch can't be bothered (and that's how it looked for long periods) then you will get dissatisfaction.

But, stop blaming the fans for all our ills. No supporter likes to see their team struggling or the powers to be, appearing almost disinterested and failing to act when they have the opportunity.

Actually, I wanted MP to succeed. I would, as daft as it may sound, still like to see him succeed. This constant merry go round of managers is not good for any club, it doesn't matter what club you are. But, like all supporters we want to see progress. Even you Nick cannot say the fans have not been patient. Can you imagine what the fans of many clubs would have been like by now had they seen less than a handful of wins in a season? Can you imagine the media howells of derision if one of their beloved top 6 clubs struggled because of a manager they perceived not good enough - look at how they treated Van Gaal and Moyes and others simply because the football was dull, even though they were in the top 6! Why just because we are Southampton should we just accept what is served upon us. Plus get this. We have good players and a reasonable squad, so why are so many of them playing so poorly - because yesterday, many of them were poor. What has happened to Romeu - he seems almost a shadow of what he was and what he was becoming? That is just one example. Look how they played at home and away against Liverpool - yes, Liverpool are good, but we the team barely tried!

A draw yesterday was a reasonable result against a team that is difficult to play against and our recent run has actually not been too bad, but it is not enough because of the fact that for two thirds of the season we have been largely inept and whether MP is to blame or something higher, I am not close enough to know, but don't blame the fans.

Billeewithers added 12:17 - Feb 25
Pellegrino still seems to be at the root of it all. he seems timid and limited. though apparently defensive minded the defensive function seems to be very disorganised. weird for a defender which he was. they really lack any drive going forward and the whole team seems lacking in cohesion. The new signing looks an honest signing with a sense of getting the ball quickly to the right player when the chance is on. it reminds me of Bobby robson for england .... he ignored the obvious choices until all his prefered options were injured and he had to throw all he had left at the problem ... the rest is history. his finishing formation has the potential for goals .... whilst still playing just as well defensively which is not saying a lot.

pintsizedsaint added 12:42 - Feb 25
Small margins: a defeat could have spelt the end for MP.

I’m a believer in MP but even I’m stating to lose patience. He needs to be starting Gabbi - ideally in a 4-4-2. But even if we stick to this 4-2-3-1 formation we should have Gabbi playing.

Sims did very well when he came on and I think Redmond did what was asked of him (clearly the stint out has helped him refocus). Yet we are not causing trouble at the right end of the pitch often enough.

Play 4-4-2 against Stoke and push them hard and high up the pitch. We can secure 3 points and can even be reasonably clear of the drop zone come full time

oldeastterrace added 13:34 - Feb 25
Make no mistake. We are all aware how big these next few games are for us BUT next Saturdays game with Stoke is simply F-----G MASSIVE!!! As some of you may be aware from my previous posts i have put on here, i am very angry with what has been allowed to happen at this club over the last 18-24 months. BUT next Saturday from 3pm until 4.50pm that has to be pushed to one side. We need a mega atmosphere at St Mary's EVERY SINGLE SAINTS FAN must get behind the team. We are playing a Stoke side with one of the worst away records in the country this is simply a game we MUST WIN!!! Hopefully a win will push us on to get positive results in the next few games. IF things do not go our way and we fail next Saturday then by all means vent your anger at full time but not before. We simply HAVE TO WIN THIS ONE and get positive results v Newcastler, West Ham and possibly Swansea ( if re-arranged for the next few weeks). I think we all know that failure to get results in these games ESPECIALLY NEXT WEEKS GAME then that will be it for us because i wouldn't expect us to pick up much in the remaining games after this.

landsdownsaint added 15:13 - Feb 25
I think MP is absolutely useless as a PL manager but come matchday he gets my full support, il stick to forums to critisize him

SaintPaulVW added 15:20 - Feb 25
Pretty dull scrappy game. Did our usual and dominated for a patch, failed to convert and then fell apart and let one in.

However, I'll say this for the team they don't panic. Pulled it back together and got a well worked goal. Mo got the subs right.

I agree we should start with Gabbi on the pitch. Josh Simms must be playing his way into the team as well. He's looked superb in his short bursts. For me start with these 2 rather than JWP and Tadic.

Redmond seems to have found his form again. Carillo looks a solid if not spectacular purchase.

I just cannot get used to this playing the ball back when we are attacking though. It's like we're trying to be a poundshop Man City. I have to say JWP is the worst culprit in my eyes for this. He ignores players in an advanced position and looks to pass back. For all the good stuff he does, and he has been good lately this really irritates me.

The Stoke game is important but given how tight the table is it's going to be high pressure stuff every game now until the end. We seem to be hitting some stuttering form so hopefully that will make life easier in Life or death March.

Perhaps we all needed a reality check after the last few seasons. The squad's good, they're aren't too many injuries, mo seems to be learning and we've got to get less points than the 4 teams below us. Things could be worse. COYS

IanRC added 19:16 - Feb 25
At the end happy to see us pick up a point but how different could it have been if he had played Gabbi from the start. We are crying out for a partnership such as the one on show at the end of the game but the manager just doesn't learn his lessons it appears. Thought Sims was excellent again, Tadic should take a look at him as he was well nigh invisible for most of the game. Redmond was better but needs to be more consistent, at least he wasn't blaming everyone else for his mistakes so much.

I see no reason why we should not beat Stoke and stay up fairly easily IF the manager sorts his team selection out. The challenge then will be to stop the likes of Gabbi departing in the summer as he must be fed up with not being played in a suitable formation. Roll on Saturday.

simmo400 added 21:03 - Feb 25
Saints were generally poor in this game. Their keeper wasn’t worked hardly at all. Josh Sims makes a difference and should have more game time I think. He’s the only player to have a go take a chance at goal. We play to slow to safe and create little. We scored a decent goal so why can’t we start like this ? We have no urgency until we’re behind this has to change. Every game is a cup tie now don’t matter how we get the results but we need get some points quickly or the pressure will be too more much for this team.

KriSaint added 21:18 - Feb 25
Good article with good timing. It´s time we forgive bad management and poor performances and swallow some camels (and there are a few) and support as much as we can during games and supply good atmosphere around the team..
I hope MoPo forgets his conservative, cautious approach and plays with Gabbiadini (behind Carrillo) and Sims FROM THE START next saturday against Stoke..... as though we start the game being a goal or 2 down.
Not another Brighton or Huddersfield like performance, please.
Go cynically after the win from the very start against the worst away team in the league.
High tempo, relentless runs and crosses, clinical finishing, no defensive screw ups, defending with lives.

KriSaint added 23:49 - Feb 25
By the way I studied the video carefully and frame by frame analysis CLEARLY shows that Ashley Barnes scored with his f*****g right upper arm. No doubt what-so-ever.
How I absolutely love it, that we deservedly equalized in the end.

BoondockSaint added 02:30 - Feb 26
Very happy with the point especially the way things were going.

For example: Saints cross into the box-ball bounces out-Saints get it back-immediately pass it back to the middle of the field-then back into their end with Burnley player in hot pursuit-then back to McCarthy who's now under pressure from the attacking player and he is lucky to clear it. What kind of professional club plays like this?? Who coaches players to do this??

Saints pulled out a draw in spite of MP. Gabbi was his last sub-he picked ball-hog Boufal before Gabbi! Agree with all: SIms, Gabbi, and Carrillo need to be starting. It's obvious to us, but is it to MP?

As IanRC points out, it will be very hard to keep Gabbi in the summer the way he has been treated this last year.

Yes we could complain about the handball, but McCarthy definitely handled outside the area in full view of the ref, so that must have been a make-up "no call" because he knew he made a mistake the first time.

On the broadcast I was watching, Ralphie Boy was found in the stands by the camera and he was referred to as "Southampton Powerbroker Ralph Kruger" The only reason I can think of them calling him that is he must have opened up a shop flogging batteries!

BaselSaint added 07:33 - Feb 26
Nihilistic thoughts about demotion just to punish the manager are wrong. Punish him wth his P45 after we scrape survival. Then Reed should be moved on too ASAP - he has way too much control over things and makes too many mistakes.

REEDYREEDOREEDZ added 12:39 - Feb 26
I have to say Josh Sims put the likes of Redmond and Tadic to shame on Saturday. He came on and in 5 minutes had done more in attack than Redmond and Tadic had done all game!
Sims looks a real talent. Gets the ball, takes people on, isn't afraid to shoot, can deliver a cross. What a positive impact!!
This leads me to my second point. Why is it it took until the 90th minute for Saints to finally put a decent cross in and find Carrillo's head? All game players like Redmond got into decent positions out wide but wasn't even looking to cross for Carrillo. We've now got a target man but aren't playing to his strengths??? This has got to come down to the manager.
The goal we scored was so simple. Get the ball out wide, get crosses into Carrillo, Gabbi feeds off of the scraps.
Pellegrino over thinks everything. All he's got to do is play 442, get the ball out wide and get some decent crosses in. Sometimes the most obvious solution is the best.

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