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Saints At Manchester City The Verdict
Tuesday, 29th Oct 2019 21:57

As expected Saints ended their Carabao Cup campaign at Manchester City, but most Saints supporters would have taken a 3-1 defeat before the start of the game.

Ralph Hasenhuttl rang the changes and put out a side with the aim of getting behind the ball and making sure there was not a repeat of Friday night's debacle, as lets be honest City have put better sides than Saints to the sword on their own turf.

This mean though that our attacks were few in the first half as Shane Long ploughed a lone furrow and we were pinned back by City, although Alex McCarthy had to make a couple of smart saves, we shot ourselves in the foot with poor marking to gift them two goals.

Half time was a relief and there were those calling this a pathetic display, but they were making no allownace for the fact that we were obviously going out with a fragile confidence and City are a potent side up their with Europe's best and if they had made changes so had we.

So the lack of possession in the first 45 was disappointing and so was the marking, but the plus points were we were still in the game and in the main had held our shape and spirit.

In the second half you could see that we were going out there with renewed confidence and we even got into City's half a few more times, but 10 minutes after the break we were three down, an unlucky deflection meant the quick thinking Aguero put the tie beyond doubt.

You feared for the final half hour, but truth is the goal stirred Saints onm Boufal had a shot well saved and Jack Stephens really should have pulled a goal back, the keeper saved his soft volley but he should have buried it.

A double change with 20 minutes left saw Redmond and Adams come on and they offered pace and used it, Stephens atoned for his earlier miss with a well planted header and the gap was only two goals,

Saints now looked a different side still not completely the one of old, but with confidence to play football and not stood back and chasing the ball.

Sadly it would only be a moral victory and not a legendary comeback, but from an exercise in restoring confidence this was played perfectly.

It was always going to be tough, City are a good side as they have showed on more than one occasion against us in the past few years, those looking for us to go there and dominate and win were always going to be disappointed.

But we weathered a few storms, dug in and gradually saw the confidence seep back, it's still a long way to go,but it is a start and at the end of 90 minutes probably as good a result and performance especially in the second half we could expect.

Our game plan on Saturday will be the same, you would hope though we will see a side put out who from the start are not afraid to take on City, that will have pace from the start as surely Redmond will start and possibly Ings or Adams.

Some players will stay in the side, Alex McCarthy deserves to keep his place as does Kevin Danso who showed that he can be a strong central defender.

It will hopefully have confidence and then we can start to put the events of the past week behind us and move forward.

As Ralph said the time for talking is over and it is time for action, we have to forget Leicester all that matters is what comes next and that is the case for the rest of the season..

Photo: Action Images

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law101 added 22:08 - Oct 29
From what I can see Danso offers no improvement to what we already have at CB. He constantly loses his man when crosses come into the box and struggles with the ball at his feet. Battling display this evening but clearly it’s going to be a long season!!

janecook added 22:10 - Oct 29
Why did Prowse start again? Why not play 2 up front?

saintlee added 22:14 - Oct 29
Bloody hell Nick. That was quick 😁😁 Ralph sent them out to be compact but as is the norm it was individual mistakes with a bit if bad luck thrown in for the third that cost us. Otemendi's free header and Aguero had the freedom of Eastlands to bury his chance. Both shocking marking. But a promising effort in the second half. Be interesting to see what Stirling and De Bruyne make of our shortcomings on Saturday but I think we should cross that bridge when we get to it.
7 out of 10 for effort tonight though.

Saintsforeverj added 23:20 - Oct 29
At least we didn't disgrace ourselves tonight and in the scheme of things, it was ok in the end. Problem is, we are playing them again in the league Saturday and they will bring back a few of their big players who were missing tonight. I am anxious to see what happens on Saturday as Man City will be desperate for the points to close the gap at the top. If we can at least keep it respectable, hopefully we can build from there. I do have some faith in Ralph but very little faith in the players. Let's see.

HythePeer added 00:11 - Oct 30
Defend, defend defend... in a cup game! I cannot see another win for Saints for the rest of the season. The players are maybe just good enough but they are led at a business level by committee and at management level by fear. Gao has a huge job to do by Xmas. No one in the club has a clue about football or the business of winning. They will all move on and Saints will implode. Sorry.

Billeewithers added 01:23 - Oct 30
I must be watching a different sport!
I saw lazy players ambling around allowing the opposition to run where they liked. Unbelievable!
Trotting around marking no one unable to jump for a ball in defence. Letting city run into the area as they watched them run into open space on the 6 yard line.
No energy no spirit barely a tackle worth the name operating as individuals with no idea what was around them. No leadership no apparent calling ..... no effing guts.
The city goals were not brilliant just easy tap ins under no pressure.
What on earth is
Ralph doing. Proving to the owners that the players are no good to force them to spend money ..... unless he is just plain no good and has been lucky up to now. I have no idea. But after 60 years of soccer this is not a team that is going anywhere but down and out.

HythePeer added 01:50 - Oct 30
Sorry, but I can only upvote your answer once.

JimmyMeliaPhD added 02:50 - Oct 30
This is one of the few games I've seen all season, but it didn't make ,me want to see any more! If Nick's account were to be believed, we weren't too bad considering the circumstances and the opposition. But what I saw was a craven display of defensive mindedness, backed up with almost no decent defenders and no tactical competence. Maybe the whole game was just about damage control, but that's not the way to get the team to recover from the slaughter of last Friday. This game should have been marked by RH going for it. FFS it's a cup game...you win or you lose, the score doesn't matter. We should have played an attacking formation and tested City's vulnerable back line. As soon as you see Long's name on the team sheet, you not only know we're not going to win, but you also know we're not really going to try to be an offensive threat. What a hopeless mess this team is right now! Or rather, what a fog the manager's head is in!

BuenosSaint added 03:44 - Oct 30
I agree in the main. Heart says we should have gone for it but a slaughtering would have put us back even further. RH had a game plan and it was not a disaster. If we improve on a 1-3 loss on Saturday then we can go into the next home game with a lot more attacking intent. No point having long. Start with Redmond and Adams for sure. 2nd half was at least watchable

saintmark1976 added 06:16 - Oct 30
So now our manager is happy to put out a team and tactics with the sole intention of avoiding a heavy defeat in a cup game.Nick then writes a semi supportive review basically saying it's all we should expect. Sorry but that's not good enough for me. I want some positivty and fight. Ralph should have gone by last Saturday morning at the latest.No manager in charge of a team which has suffered the biggest ever home defeat in English top class football history deserve to be allowed to continue.

landsdownsaint added 08:07 - Oct 30
We all seem to see a different game , for me it was dreadful defending, shocking midfield But a good display from McCarthey,I think one of the problems is how we don’t seem to make it to the loose ball , fitness levels don’t seem upto it

petedoors1 added 09:26 - Oct 30
Another very poor display what was the point going to city with a defensive team? Was Ralphs plan just to lose one or two nil? Why not play with 2 upfront that would take some pressure off the defence. It looks now as if Ralph has lost the plot and should GO.

A1079 added 09:26 - Oct 30
I really don't know what to make of last night. In truth, it was an awful performance again and offered little hope. In a cup game you have to go for it. It is not as if you get anything for a draw. Equally though, if we could have opened ourselves up for another thrashing. I had rubbed last nights game out before it even started and I am even less optimistic for the weekend. Unless we get Djenepo and Cedric back I think it will be a damage limitation game with an inevitable defeat - the only question will be the margin of that defeat.

The real test now comes in our next game at home after this weekend. That will test not only whether the players etc have got it and can offer any hope or whether it is effectively a long season to play out to the inevitable finale of relegation.

What a f**king god awful mess we are in. I never for a minute imagined we would be in this state this season.

beynali73 added 09:27 - Oct 30
Great support at the ground ladies and gentlemen. If we get out of this mess you have played a massive part by keeping the faith. Together as one.

davidargyll added 09:28 - Oct 30
Didn’t see the game so somewhat unworthy to comment
But from what I’ve read and saw on TV, It seems we only really started playing when we went 3-0 down, which is rather depressing
I suppose though if I was being positive, I would say at least we did start to do so then, as opposed to collapse like a pack of cards. But if that’s a chink of light, I reckon it’s still a 10 mile long tunnel...

SaintPaulVW added 09:48 - Oct 30
I'm already fed up with 'We want 10' and I expect to hear it all season.

I am not sure whether to feel happy or sad about losing 3-1. My only worry is that goal difference doesn't count for anything in the cup so MC's foot could have come off the gas once they were well ahead. May be a different story at the weekend.

However hopefully this has allowed Saints to get a bit of confidence to seep back. I'm hoping someone can get them fired up and we can build from this. COYR.


wibbersda added 09:58 - Oct 30
What about all the Comedy falls and crashing into each other. Proof positive that players are playing in the wrong positions. Another tactical foul-up from the Austrian Flopp!

NewburySaint added 10:17 - Oct 30
This result was always 1 i expected with City always going to change their entire 11 so i never expected us to get spanked.

However i do fear for us on Saturday when City will presumably put their preferred XI out and cannot see anything other than a hefty beating-our only hope may be that City have a Champs League game and then Liverpool following us so they may get it won early and take it easy on us....hopefully.

Saint4Life247 added 10:39 - Oct 30
Quite honestly after Friday I think we all wrote off the following two games against City. I agree that last night being a cup game we should have been more attacking. However look at the bigger picture for a second. If we had opened ourselves up and conceded another, say 7+ goals what effect would that have on player mentality etc? I think RH just wants to get these 2 games out the way asap so he can focus on building the teams (probably very fragile) mental state up ready for a winnable home game against Everton (who are also struggling). I fear we will be limping our way to the Jan transfer window in the vein hope that a few defensive saviours may come in to help out. We need to forget the 'young, eager and potential' blueprint that has been banded around recently and go for older, experienced heads that could come in a do a good job (avoid relegation) and in turn teach and develop the younger players. We also need a couple of decent experienced midfielders. For me PEH is awful, he was a second rate injured player at Bayern (i think) when we bought him and he couldn't get a game for god knows how long. Now he's one of the first on the sheet but he hasn't improved in all that time. Romeu is a donkey. No pace or vision. Couldn't pick a decent pass if it was hanging off a tree. He offers no forward play. Just physical and thats about it. I am one of the few that backed JWP but he hasn't stepped up like I thought he would. Again no forward pass in his locker so no point him being there.

Tbh my head is still all over the place. I honestly thought we would have been comfortable this season and its turned into a complete and utter shambles....smh

wibbersda added 11:15 - Oct 30
Saint4Life247 sorry but have to disagree re Romeu. He's a Defensive Midfielder and to that end he has been good for us.

aceofthebase added 16:05 - Oct 30
Boufal nearly scores another wonderful goal. His reward was to be substituted. What was that very late sub that brought on Vokins all about?

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