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The Players Need To Step Up To The Plate !
Tuesday, 6th Mar 2018 11:06

Mauricio Pellegrino's future as Southampton boss is very much on the line and deservedly so, however he is not out on the pitch and the players have to shoulder some of the blame.

Although it cannot be denied that a large amount of the blame for Saints current predicament lies with Mauricio Pellegrino, it also has to be pointed out that if some of his players had done their job, then we would be safe by a long chalk.

This season has been littered with individual errors that have cost us points, I am not going to name names here, I have done that enough times throughout the season, but we have gifted too many goals through poor marking far too often, and soft goals have been let in by the goalkeeper.

How many times have we seen someone left totaly unmarked in the box for an easy goal, Burnley at home, Arsenal at home, Huddersfield at home, Palace at home to name but four which have cost us dearly, those single goals cost us six points alone, if the players in question had done their job and marked up then we would now sit in 10th place and would only be 4points behind 7th.

These are just the tip of the iceberg, add some late goals conceded at the likes of Stoke and Manchester City and a couple of error at Bournemouth and Chelsea plus the 2 points we were cheated out of at Watford and this season should of looked a lot different, not particularly because of Pellegrino but in spite of him.

This is not to suggest that his management and tactics have worked, but merely to highlight that our players have to also shoulder a fair amount of the blame why we have one foot in the bottom three.

Therefore the players need to step up to the plate in the final games and show the passion that every week one of them makes a statement to the press about, we are fed up with reading that we are too good to be in this position etc etc.

On Saturday we played for 70 minutes without urgency, perhaps that is the instructions of the manager, certainly it seems to be the case of late, but we need to up the tempo for a lot longer than just the last 20 minutes when it is too little too late.

Yes the players have to play to instruction, but they can also up their own workrate and urgency.

In the main we have cut out some of the poor marking that blighted us earlier in the season, we have a base to build on, only one defeat in the last ten games, seven of them in the Premier League.

This is a solid foundation, now it is up to the player to play without fear, play with urgency, play with passion and do the jobs they are paid to do.

Mauricio Pellegrino has to bear his full brunt of the blame for our current predicament, but he does have the right to expect his players to perform to the standards they have previously done, whether that is marking their man in the box, saving soft shots or burying easy chances.

We do all of this in the final 9 games and we will finish safely above the bottom three, but the final run in will be defined not by what the manager does, he seems incapable of changing things, but by the players themselves, they have to step up to the plate and save this season.

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montecristo added 11:24 - Mar 6
even more so now f as I imagine Pellegrino knows hes lost his job already regardless of what happens this season..not going to trying very hard to change things is he

helpineedsomebody added 11:24 - Mar 6
its the playing system that needs to change

Whiteknight added 11:32 - Mar 6
Nick, I agree with the tone of this article. It is a collective responsibility and many of the players are as culpable as the manager. It is sad that professionals on astronomic wages keep making simple errors, seem to lack any fight, let alone show any accountability or even humility.

Combined with appalling management from the owner down to the manager, I believe that this is what is really unacceptable to may long term fans. No guts, no glory - at the moment Saints aren't even a bowel!

underweststand added 11:53 - Mar 6
The main blame surely has to fall on our group of "non-scoring " strikers.
We've discussed all the stats. on shots, and possession , number of times hitting the woodwork, but it remains a fact that; Shane Long's goal drought, Gabbadini's very poor mid-season form, and Boufals ball-juggling antics, Nathan Redmonds "Invisible Man" impressions and Charlie Austin's unfortunate absence that have cost us this season.

I'm as disappointed as anyone that Pellegrino hasn't found the right formula but no-one can say he hasn't rung the changes in an attempt to find the right formula/formation.
Defensive errors pale into insignificance compared to the number of missed chances that have got us more points. MP does look very "laid back", but what he says ; in his defence/explanation makes some sense when one considers that we have suffered just one defeat (Liverpool) in the last 10 League and Cup games.

If this comments on this site is anything to go by, then Pellegrino is living on borrowed time, but if we are to be good enough, then the remaining away games will need to bring in 10 points - if we are to survive.
BUT don't think that Pelegrino's eventual exit would be the only ones in the summer . Those international players who have a clause in their contracts that they can leave if we are relegated, may be joined by those facing a salary cut for the same "crime."


landerwal added 12:15 - Mar 6
We are in the position we are because of the manager, not the players. How can they "play without fear" when we have a manager who is always looking like the proverbial rabbit in the car headlights. He is the problem. Very few players get to play at Premiership level because they are scared about playing football. They play at this level because they have confidence in themselves. You cite individual errors costing us matches because of one goal. We should have had those matches sewn up with three or four goals long before inevitable late equaliser was scored. Errors, even by the best players are part and parcel of football. I also notice you do not mention the the number of sitters the forwards have missed this season costing us games. Whilst only WBA have won less matches than Saints, we top the table on the number of draws. There lies the problem. We have a manager so scared of losing that we try and hang on for a draw or a sneaky 1-0 win. Players play as the manager wants them to or they get dropped like Redmond who whatever you think of him at least tried to carry the ball to the opposition. The only way things will change is a dressing room rebellion to change tactics or or the inevitable sacking of MP. Let us hope the new manager's motto is the same as the SAS. He who dares, wins.

bstokesaint added 12:22 - Mar 6
Like I posted yesterday I think Pellegrino’s tactics are poor, but so are the players’ attitudes. None of them look bothered or up for a fight and are just going through the motions for a big pay cheque. It’s horrible to witness, but we seem to victims of our own success.

GasGiant added 12:31 - Mar 6
Last season I remember Graeme Souness talking about Southampton on Sky. Can't remember who they were playing but I think it was a top 6 team and Saints were playing well but a goal down. The other pundits were praising SFC and Souness said "Yes they always look good, but they are easy to play against". Stoke came to St Marys knowing exactly what they were going to face and they had a plan to ensure they left with something. Under MP they remind me of the teams under Ian Branfoot. All afraid to make the killer pass for fear of losing posession. Afraid to make a run in case they lose the bloke they would have to mark at a corner.

LordDZLucan added 12:46 - Mar 6
All teams make mistakes and we don't make any more than anyone else so that's not a factor. The issue, as has been pointed out by underweststand and landerwal, is our lack of goals. Quite simply our attacking players are not good enough bar one player and that is Charlie Austin. It doesn't matter what formation Pellegrino puts out if we haven't got Charlie on the pitch we're going to struggle to score goals. I'm praying that he gets fit before the end of the month so that he can spearhead our survival push.

NZsaint added 12:54 - Mar 6
Stuff listening to MPS garpled message anyone.go out and play off the cuff. Football.let them off the leash and play football dammit

BaselSaint added 14:08 - Mar 6
Disagree: They should absolutely NOT play to the managers instructions. They need to attack and attack quickly and not indulge in those ludicrous midfield walkabouts for half the game. That is our only hope of scoring and catching the opposition off guard. It was exactly the same problem at Alaves.

SanMarco added 14:19 - Mar 6
'Strong squad let down by bad manager' talk again. I believe that such complacency has been one of the factors behind our decline. Yes, the manager should never have been appointed but if the squad really was strong we would be doing better. Yes his faults may provide the extra point losses that push us down but I haven't been watching a top 8 team underperforming. I have been watching an average team underperforming.

BoondockSaint added 15:49 - Mar 6
"Step up to the plate.." ?
Maybe that's the problem-they think they are playing baseball!

DPeps added 16:26 - Mar 6
Anyone who thinks we have a good side is delusional. While we have a decent squad, with credible options in all areas, we don't have a good starting 11. The players who have been good in the past are either past their peak (Davis, Long, Bertrand) or have been poor for sufficiently long that you can't really call them 'good' any more (Romeu).

Whatever happens at the end of season, we need to think about making some wholesale changes to the players, as well as the manager.

How about Lee Johnson (Bristol City) as a shout for manager?

DorsetIan added 16:59 - Mar 6
I'm fed up with all this negativity. Three successive articles calling for the manager's head and now a pop at the players.

We're all frustrated, and the entertainment dividend on my season ticket purchases has been shocking but...

...I don't see a team who isn't already working its socks off, or a manager who isn't already trying to deliver what we all want.

They and he are finding it hard going but MP is staying calm, changing this and that to try to improve, and anyone who thinks everything can be solved by an immediately switch to 4-4-2 (or 2-3-5), or by bringing in Dave Merrington or David Silva, or by charging out of the gate like nutters from minute 1, Is in cloud cuckoo land.

Here's this...

"The 4-2-3-1 is the de facto best formation in modern football. It mixes attacking potency with defensive solidarity and featured heavily throughout the 2010 FIFA World Cup and also Euro 2012."

The manager is not sticking to some weird Argentinian tango-formation. It's standard stuff.

And there's usually another decent Premier League team on the pitch trying with an equally imperfect manager to stop us doing what we want to do and trying to score against us. It's tight in the bottom half of the table for a reason.


dirk_doone added 17:21 - Mar 6
"LordDZLucan added 12:46 - Mar 6
All teams make mistakes and we don't make any more than anyone else so that's not a factor. The issue, as has been pointed out by underweststand and landerwal, is our lack of goals. Quite simply our attacking players are not good enough bar one player and that is Charlie Austin. It doesn't matter what formation Pellegrino puts out if we haven't got Charlie on the pitch we're going to struggle to score goals. I'm praying that he gets fit before the end of the month so that he can spearhead our survival push"


dirk_doone added 17:25 - Mar 6
Without the points won by Charlie Austin's goals in the early part of last season, we'd have finished 17th. So, this season is the same, except we haven't got Charlie Austin, the only reliable gaol scorer in the entire squad.

aceofthebase added 17:26 - Mar 6
'we played for 70 minutes without urgency, perhaps that is the instructions of the manager'

You can't be serious Nick!

The players need to kick themselves up their backsides. They are the ones on the pitch, they are the ones that are not putting in the positive effort. MP can shout and scream in the dressing room and that counts for little. The players must step up to the mark.

wibbersda added 17:47 - Mar 6
Pointless now. The reports of Saints sacking MP has been put out to undermine our Team. If Players think the Manager will be gone soon, then where is the incentive to play for him?? Has this story been started by one of the other relegation candidates to unsettle, or has it come from St.Mary's to pursue the Asset stripping by Gao to pay back the loan??

SaintPaulVW added 18:28 - Mar 6
Agree the sentiment but totally disagree with pointing the finger at the defence. We are where we are because our attacking play has been poor for almost 2 seasons.

LoisDeem added 17:29 - Mar 7
It's a team game, and our offensive and defensive play has been underwhelming and unconvincing.
Add to that the more important total lack of spunk, backbone, commitment, bottle or fight COMPARED to 18 of our rivals, and it don't bode well.
This is something that can change, and changes do need to be made, and it's not happening yet.
Trolling along with Pointagameo's jobsworth optimism (is he really Argentinian?) cannot be countenanced -that's if we care about staying up?
Home fans should really try to become a mirror of our more positively vociferous away support. Make demands with your positivity, it's worked against all odds in the past.
The 'too little, too late' seasonal gameplan may end up as a fitting epitaph if we continue to trudge laboriously towards the Man City 'climax'.
These are changes that can be made to influence outcome. 'Control the controllables' one of more successful and popular managers of recent years once said.

darthvader added 09:23 - Mar 8
Defence may have been poor at times, but if we took our chances in front of goal and actually scored goals none of the mistakes at the back would matter ,it's up front where the main problem lies

underweststand added 08:49 - Mar 9
In all the anger / disappointment shown in many comments recently, it seems a lot of people are determined to disbelieve / ignore stats. that show more than they show.
we have "enjoyed " max. % possession in 20 of 29 games but scored less than 10% of shots.
The collective "goal drought" this season is the major reason for our downfall in form.
Few would deny that JayRod's move was good for him and the club but we were one man down and (sadly) we have to say that Gabbiadini is the main culprit. His whirlwind start must be some sort of club record but since then he has been disappointing.
10 starts + 12 subs. has yielded j 3 goals. Out of form/unhappy/ homesick? Whatever?

In Boufal's 11 starts he was subbed 7 times and later used 9 times as sub. = 2 goals. Even though he get Goal of the Season every time he scores it's a poor reward for a one time record signing.

Shane Long's record goal drought defies his nuisance value to the side but tbf..he has been out injured too. He certainly qualified for "Miss of the Season" several times over.

Very little to defend Redmond's 16 starts +7 subs. (at times I forget he was on the pitch).

Which leaves us with Charlie Austin..when he eventually got started we saw 5 goals in 7 games he was involved in ..then injury struck. If we are to survive - even a one legged Austin can show the rest how it's done. Hurry back Saint Charlie - we need you.
Pellegrino will(it seesm ) eventually pay the price for this seasons lapse, but the above mentioned need to take a long look in the mirror after they look at their salary cheques.

I 'm a 60 year fan and not quick to condemn but they need to stand up and be counted, and PDQ (!)


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