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Southampton At Leicester The Debacle
Tuesday, 23rd Apr 2024 22:06

The big question is how can a side that was so tight at the back, so clinical up front and who could pass the ball around almost with their eyes closed, become the disorganised rabble that they were at the Leicester City this evening.

In truth Saints never looked confident from the beginning, they looked nervous and low on confidence and gave the ball away far too many times.

The goal threat was non existent and to be blunt Leicester just picked us off.

We were somewhat fortunate to go in only a goal down at the break and although we came out and had a go in the first 10 mins of the second half you just had the feeling that the home side were just biding their time.

This was indeed the case and when on the hour mark Leicester made it two, you knew we were finished.

Perhaps Saints can be excused for trying to pull a goal back at this point, but once the third went in it was just astonishing that at this stage we didn't just close the game down and apply a little bit of damage limitation.

No we carried on as if we were still in the game, 4 minutes later it was 4 and only 2 minutes later as we poured forward, Leicester cleared the ball and suddenly we were caught short and it was 5.

We were now just a rabble, again no leadership on the pitch, indeed in the final 10 minutes we had more meaningful attacks than in the previous 80, but what was the point, were was the possession football, where was the game management to stop a defeat becoming a rout.

Few players could come off with any real credit, Will Smallbone was one and to a lesser extent Shea Charles and Joe Aribo, but after that it is hard to give anyone any real credit.

The problem is now where we go from here, somehow as I have said our confidence has been destroyed in the last two months, our pattern of play disappeared, our leadership zero, I am sorry to say it but Russell Martin has destroyed everything he has built up and we are back to where we were when Leicester won 4-1 at St Mary's.

We go into the play offs in a bad way and the worry is that the manager does not really know how to get his side out of it, his answer to anything is always multiple changes and you don't have to look far past that as to why our best players have had their confidence shattered by baffling team selections.

On a bright note we kept a clean sheet in the final 10 minutes plus 5 of injury time and yes it was a very good performance from Leicester, but this was more about how bad we were.

What the answer is I don't know, the hope is that we can get back on track against Stoke and perhaps pick up some confidence.

These players were so clinical in all areas only two months ago, how could it be destroyed so quickly and so badly.

Over the past few days over 3,000 Saints fans have travelled to both Cardiff & Leicester, they do not deserve to see a team collapse so badly in both games.

Russell Martin has to show that he is the man to take Saints forward, two months ago I firmly believed he was, now I cannot see any way forward with him as a manager.

Many Saints managers have proved the fans wrong over the past 50 years, I would doubt whether many trooping out of Leicester tonight and a long journey home, can think of much good to say about Russell Martin.

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cocklebreath added 22:22 - Apr 23
Smallbone was the only player who comes out with any credit the rest were hopeless

sandywelsh added 22:38 - Apr 23
Why did he put Stephens on when we were 5-0 down? He should have put Dibling on there was nothing to lose!!!

codge added 22:39 - Apr 23
There can be no excuses for this debacle,utterly pathetic and really these players should give there wages to the fans who traveled to Leicester to watch this cr-p.Only saving grace it wasn’t another 9-0 but this was a new low for Saints. And if l Russel Martin comes out with any other excuse except thi# was a lot of shit.

allsaint54 added 22:41 - Apr 23
Utter disgrace. 66% possession, no shots on target & lose 5-0. Tippy tappy sideways backwards football may work against the lesser sides but as soon as we play someone half decent we get stuffed. Without Flynn we lose solidity in midfield & without Stu we lose any creativity. No point singling out individual players, they were all poor . Perhaps they realise that if we were to get promoted they wouldn't be in the 1st team. Can't see us beating WBA over 2 legs on current performances.

bryanK added 22:57 - Apr 23
Negative thoughts over the past weeks from me and others which I regret but that frustration is aimed solely at Russell Martin.We have a strong squad but this manager has totally blown it. You don’t need 60/70% of the ball to be successful in games the lack of creativity is there for all to see.He has been found out and unless the players can lift matters in the playoffs another season in the 2nd tier beckons.


graveworm added 23:04 - Apr 23
It’s shows our true value from manager to players
There’s a malaise at this club for a long time
It would better to clear the rubbish out and start afresh
I feel like the manager is a 1 step idiot
No alternative ways to adapt to the oppositons style of play
A belief that there’s only 1 way to play football
Unfortunately with a brain containing 99 cells idiot and 1 cell Pep
You are left with a monstrous conundrum
When it works it’s good to watch however it is so boring when it doesn’t
At the end of the day if you have over 60% possession and lose a match 5-0
Serious questions have to be asked

saintmark1976 added 23:06 - Apr 23
Your penultimate paragraph says it all Nick, you are 100% correct, there is no way forward with Russell Martin as manager.

Everybody and their dog can see that the players have given up on him and his tippy tappy ineffectual method of play. He has no plan B, doesn’t know his best team, has no idea whatsoever how to use his substitutes proactively and can’t close matches out from winning positions.

Swansea’s fans warned us that he was a stubborn one trick pony chancer and so it has proven.

If by some fluke we were to win the playoffs, with him as our manager in the Premiership, our points total at the season end would be less than Derby’s all time record low.

AmericanSaint added 23:14 - Apr 23
Wow - that was so bad to watch I turned it off after the 3rd goal. SaintMark is right, that RM has no plan B. They were pressing high and the only way to stop that is to do a skip pass or send it long to stretch the midfield. But, nope. I was screaming at Jan B the whole first half and he decision making was crap. Having Brooks sit on the outside touchline at midfield waiting for a pass is not a outlet. Speed was needed to cause them pressure with the over the top ball and yet NONE of our backline sent one ball long. Last thing, the ref sucked. How many times did he allow them to come in from behind and foul - they had 14 fouls in the 1st half and almost all were from behind.

Well now it is playoff time and I agree with you all who are not optimistic about the playoffs. RM will not change cause he thinks he knows best and has no plan B. Also, bench AM and let Lumley play in goal. Well my night was ruined with that tripe and now I have no reason to watch the last two games, and I really wanted the Leeds game to mean something.


SaintPaulVW added 01:20 - Apr 24
Struggling to believe that last week I walked out of St Mary's having watched an excellent performance. With 3 well taken simple goals.

Agree Smallbone was the only one who turned up. When he came on the passing suddenly tightened up.

It seems that 'no Flynn, no win'



YosemiteSaint added 01:29 - Apr 24
allsaint54 is spot on: "Tippy tappy sideways backwards football may work against the lesser sides but as soon as we play someone half decent we get stuffed." And we think we warrant being in the conversation about the Premier League ?! Nowhere close. If we want to go up, RM has to go out.

Bawdrip added 02:27 - Apr 24
Completely outplayed tonight. Very disappointing especially doing a 300 mile round trip with my son in law who's a Leicester supporter. Bought back memories of going to the 0-9 defeat together. Not to register a worthwhile shot and to leak five goals with 66% possession really is quite something. I did feel Che Adams despite not registering any efforts on goal played well holding the ball up well, drawing fouls and laying it off nicely at times. No one else really contributed much at all. Definitely second best.

PezzaSaint added 06:37 - Apr 24
Can see why we ship so many goals, stand off the player, stand off, stand off, oh he’s passed it for a goal! Must be down to how we train, coaches got to take a lot of blame!

And is it me, but is Russell Martin so frustrating to watch at press conferences!

Boris1977 added 08:21 - Apr 24
This result is a culmination in the lack of investment where it has been required for the last 3 + years. Lack of decent keeper, CBS and an out and out number 9/goal scorer.

Sports direct have got ever big calls wrong since they took over from not investing sensibly in the premiership to selling off the majority of talent last summer - including a proven goal scorer who's now got a German league winners medal.

While sports direct are in charge we'll remain, like their other clubs, playing lower league football for some time. They're more like hedge fund managers than football club owners. There isn't something odd about their business practices.

Boris1977 added 08:25 - Apr 24
I meant is something wrong with the way they operate.

Markus reinstalled pride in our club - this rabble have hollowed it out and made us an embarrassment

landsdownsaint added 08:33 - Apr 24
I think theirs other things on RM mind atm , we need to back him and I’m sure it will come right

davidargyll added 09:08 - Apr 24
The funny thing about Leicester is that they play almost the same as us, ie quite a lot of tippy tappy, but press hard, and catch the oppo on the break. The difference was that last night our players, in defence looked petrified of losing the ball but most importantly, when LFC had the ball, DID NOT PRESS.

But Leicester aren’t Man City, they are a well organised and very fit team who have a (whole) game plan unlike us who only have half one: and I am convinced that if we had pressed them as much as they pressed us, then the result would have been different. It’s as if RM has coached them so far - got past the introduction and moved on to chapters 1,2 and 3 - but left it at that.

So why is that?
Well there are three likely answers (and probably a combination of them):
1. RM hasn’t got past chapter 3 himself and doesn’t know how to coach more into the players, but hopes/thinks that the players will work it out for themselves,
2. For some reason the players are not as fit as they should be (already on the beach?).
3, The players are over-rated, not as good as they think, lazy old sods, complete bottlers and are scared sh*tless of getting injured so won’t give 100%.

So what now?

I have come to the sad conclusion that MOST IF NOT ALL THE PLAYERS AND THE MANAGER IN THEIR HEART OF HEARTS DON’T REALLY WANT TO BE PROMOTED. They have resigned themselves to this because they are all on cushy numbers, earning a million p.a. upwards, they all think they’ll get jobs elsewhere - but in the PL? only with the bottom teams at best - so why kill yourself for a club that seems to them to be stuck in a rut?

I’ve said before that we are fast becoming like Middlesbrough last season, ambitious in theory but not good enough for the PL in practice, and I reckon that, Iike them in 22/23, this is going to be our best season in the Championship, ie knocked out in the playoffs, for many a year.

Season ticket next year? Looks less and less likely.


JoeEgg added 09:12 - Apr 24
Martin said: “If Jack’s playing tonight, we don’t lose 5-0. My fault.”

So WHO picked thye team?

harrapuk added 09:28 - Apr 24
JoeEgg perhaps that is why he says "my fault", just a thought!

Farlow added 09:44 - Apr 24
Why has Adam Armstrong gone missing just when we needed him most.The managers
team selection and subs were dreadful.Even KWP was poor

Saint4Life247 added 10:00 - Apr 24
Can't really add anymore than has already been said. I agree with all points raised. Simply not good enough with a system that works better in theory than it'll ever do in practise.

Sorry Russell but if the club is serious about promotion and building a team to challenge then go get Graham Potter.

LordDZLucan added 10:04 - Apr 24
Ultimately this season a poor defence has been bailed out by an attack that has more often than not delivered. All the stats back this up. However, when the attack has an off day (e.g. the last 2 games) the fragility at the back is laid bare for all to see.

onetowatch added 10:10 - Apr 24
There are many conclusions that can be taken from last nights' performance:
- Possession stats are just that, STATS, they mean nothing. Keeping the ball deep in our own half is no threat at all to opponents
- Without the midfield players that can facilitate the 'transition' to commit opposing players in their own half we offer no threat at all - namely Stuey and FD. Though Ryan, once he's received the ball is always direct.
- RM may have an ego that just about squeezes into SMS, but he really does have no plan B.
- Leicester showed they will have a chance, that's all, of surviving in the PL....we clearly know our fate should we get there.
What are the options? Do we ditch RM irrespective of the play offs' outcome? We clearly won't if we go up, but , as much as I want to see Saints back in the PL, I fear for them next season if we're there....

Ifonly added 10:18 - Apr 24
Comments above that Leicester are aso a tippy tappy team are wrong. They can play possession football, yes, but it is not a religion for them and if playing a different way is required, then that is what they will do.

They didn't win 5-0 with 33% possession by accident. They knew exactly what they were doing because they were coached to play that way. The chances of RM being able to do that are zero.

wibbersda added 10:41 - Apr 24
Leicester showed us how to play exciting football with a purpose. Always looking to get the ball forward as quickly as possible, whilst we just plod up the field like a clapped-out donkey! Leicester showed what is expected of teams in the Prem, and we are a long way from that.

kenchilds70 added 11:32 - Apr 24
RM serial bottler. Look at previous history. He's had a season to prove "his way " is the Southampton Way. Its not. That much possession has to equate to an end product. The man is about stats not results....get in a proven results man before statman completely takes the pride out of OUR CLUB

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