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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