Jumat, 30 November 2012

Gaston Ramirez would move back to Italy, but insists he is happy at Southampton

Gaston Ramirez: Would consider move back to Italy one day

After struggling with injuries since arriving from Bologna in the summer, Ramirez - who is Southampton's record signing - has impressed massively in recent weeks.

Speaking to Tuttomercatoweb, he admits he would contemplate a move back to Serie A but he insists that he is very happy in the Premier League.

"In Bologna I was fine, but now I think about Southampton," he said.

"Coming back to Italy? In England I discovered a fantastic football. But in life never say never, in Italy, as well as in England, there are many important teams."

Reports in Italy have linked him with Fiorentina and he admits he has been impressed by them under coach Vincenzo Montella.

"Me to Fiorentina? It would be nice, they are playing very well and I like coach (Vincenzo) Montella. In every game the team are having fun, they have great quality. Why not? I'd come back in Italy, I like it and I was fine there."

Paulo Gazzaniga set for Southampton start against Liverpool as Lucas returns

Lucas: Liverpool midfielder set to return

The Brazil international has finally recovered from a thigh injury, while Joe Cole has overcome a hamstring problem which forced him out of the midweek defeat at Tottenham.

Defender Andre Wisdom, on the bench at White Hart Lane after a knee injury, could come back into contention for a starting place.

Under-fire goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga looks set to start for Southampton again when they travel to Merseyside on Saturday.

The 20-year-old Argentinian has come under increasing scrutiny following a number of recent high-profile mistakes, including the one that saw Norwich grab an equaliser in midweek.

Danny Fox could return from a knee complaint, while Frazer Richardson and Richard Chaplow are closing in on a return.

Kamis, 29 November 2012

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins excited about trip to Liverpool

Nigel Adkins: Southampton manager looking forward to facing Liverpool at Anfield

The Southampton boss was born in Birkenhead and was also on the books of Liverpool as a young goalkeeper before he joined Tranmere Rovers.

He now returns to his old stomping ground as a Premier League manager and is both proud and excited by the prospect of leading Southampton out at Anfield on Saturday.

"It will be good to go there," he said. "I was a schoolboy at Liverpool. I had the option to stay there before I decided to go to Tranmere Rovers, which was important from my career point of view.

"We are obviously steeped in tradition on Merseyside: you're either red, blue or the white of Tranmere.

"You are either a Liverpool supporter or an Everton supporter, but you're always going to be a Tranmere supporter if you're from Birkenhead.

"Going to Merseyside is going to be great for everybody and great for all our supporters to go to Liverpool, a club steeped in tradition.

"Obviously they're going through a transition at this moment in time, but it is a game that we'll look forward to as we do every single game in the Barclays Premier League."

The Saints boss, who played at Anfield three times as a player, tried to downplay the personal importance of his managerial debut at the famous old ground, although admitted he has fond memories of his time there.

"This shouldn't be about me and Liverpool," he said. "It should be about Southampton, shouldn't it?"

Rabu, 28 November 2012

Luke Shaw is not thinking of leaving Southampton like youth stars before him

Luke Shaw: Being linked with a high-profile move away from Southampton

Like the Spurs ace, 17-year-old left-back Shaw came through the Saints' esteemed youth academy and the youngster is already attracting reported interest from the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Bale, who also started out as a left-back before moving to the wing at Tottenham, made the move to White Hart Lane as a teenager in 2007, while fellow ex-Saints youngsters Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made similarly high-profile transfers to Arsenal.

But despite being linked with a move to a top Premier League club, Shaw says he has no intention of leaving Southampton.

He told the Daily Star: "Seeing my name linked with those big clubs was crazy. I tried not to pay attention to it because I don't want it to get into my head.

"When the stories came out I was happy at Southampton and I am still happy. It is great club and I want to be here.

"We give youngsters chances and other clubs don't ha ve what we have here at Southampton.

"I have been here since I was seven and I have loved every bit of it.

"There have been a few players to come through our academy and go on to success and that is what we aspire to be like."

Selasa, 27 November 2012

Norwich keeper John Ruddy doubtful for game against Southampton

Rickie Lambert: Should be fit for Southampton

Saints' top scorer picked up the leg injury in Sunday's 2-0 defeat of Newcastle but trained on Tuesday and should be involved against the Canaries.

However, the game could come too soon for Danny Fox after missing Sunday with a knee complaint, while Frazer Richardson and Richard Chaplow are also expect to remain sidelined.

Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy is doubtful for the trip to St Mary's due to a thigh injury.

Ruddy was replaced towards the end of Saturday's 1-1 draw at Everton by Mark Bunn, who will deputise if the England keeper fails to recover in time.

Centre-half Michael Turner will again miss out due to a shoulder injury and he is also unlikely to be fit to face his former club Sunderland at the weekend.

On-loan striker Harry Kane is still sidelined with a foot injury, but defender Russell Martin is available again following his back problem.

Nigel Adkins praises Southampton's progress following win against Newcastle

Goals from Adam Lallana and Gaston Ramirez either side of half time handed Adkin's men back-to-back wins - following their 3-1 success at QPR last weekend - and saw them move out the relegation zone.

"It was probably a better performance than last week," said Adkins.

"There was a good momentum about us and we carried that on today. It was a good performance.

"We scored two, but could have scored some more. The crowd were great, the players were great and we got a clean sheet.

"We've been progressing all the way through. Last week I spoke about a growing maturity about the group of players and I think we're progressing well.

"Our confidence has been good since the start of pre-season, but you've got to get yourself ready as quickly as possible to reach the level the Premier League is at.

"The players are doing that and doing that very well at this moment in time. We know we're in the hardest, toughest and most desirable league to be in.

"We worked very hard to get here and we'll continue to keep working hard. We have a forward momentum about ourselves."

Senin, 26 November 2012

Lallana: Saints adapting to Prem

Adam Lallana: Starting to adapt to the Premier League

Saints ended a seven-year top-flight exile thanks to back-to-back promotions under the stewardship of manager Nigel Adkins.

That reign looked in jeopardy heading into last weekend's trip to QPR after a miserable start in which they collected just five points from their opening 11 matches.

However, skipper Lallana believes Saints have turned the corner after winning 3-1 at Loftus Road and then defeating Newcastle 2-0 yesterday.

"We had a tough start and we feel we should have probably been a little higher up the league," he said.

"We've led in a lot of games this year but just not seen it out. We are adjusting to the standard and it is showing by the results we're getting.

"We will just keep working hard and learning still. It is the first season for a lot of us in the top flight but we'll come to terms with it."

Lallana scored the opener in Sunday's defeat of Newcastle and was involved in the second, playing though Jason Punc heon to cross for Gaston Ramirez.

The latter became Southampton's record signing when he joined from Serie A outfit Bologna for upwards of 12million.

Lallana believes Ramirez is already starting to pay back his lofty price tag and predicts there is even more to come from the new boy.

"We started a little bit sloppily in the first 10 minutes but when we got into the game and found our feet we were creating chances," he said. "It could have been four or five goals.

"My goal came as Clyney (Nathaniel Clyne) had a shot from distance but then the composure Ramirez showed to set me up was brilliant.

"He is a top-class player and the more he finds his feet he will take this league by storm.

"It is a pleasure to play with him and he brings out the best in the other lads, like Rickie Lambert, Jason Puncheon and myself.

"We're learning off him. He has great ability, that continental flair."

The Southampton frontline has been work ing to great effect all season and their shaky defence is at last showing signs of life.

Having conceded 28 goals in their opening 10 matches, the backline has only been breached twice in the last three matches - a sturdiness epitomised by their first clean sheet yesterday.

"It was a good win all round and if you keep clean sheets you'll pick up points and win games," Lallana added.

"We haven't done that bar that (game) and it is the start of a big week for us.

"We've got Norwich on Wednesday night here [and then Liverpool away] so to back it up with another three points and that will take us further away from the drop."

While Saints will be looking to make it three wins on the bounce in midweek, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is hoping for a response at Stoke.

"It was tough for us," he said.

"I thought the intensity of Southampton was hard for us to cope with.

"There is no doubt we're lacking a bit of confidence and tha t showed in the first half.

"We came out in the second half with renewed spirit and should have really equalised, although perhaps not deservedly.

"But we're struggling and really up against it in terms of numbers and it is difficult.

"I think confidence is low due to results. We've conceded first on a number of occasions and that's costly for us in the Premier League.

"At this level that is a huge factor and Southampton deserved to win. Really we haven't got anything to argue about."

Minggu, 25 November 2012

TT's Premier Picks: Pardew under pressure

Tottenham: Celebrate Defoe goal

Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 0

One week they score five, the next they look like it would take them a month to accumulate that tally. Arsenal were back to their Jekyll and Hyde best at Villa Park on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger's men appear clueless when faced with the task of breaking down a stubborn side that is prepared to get men behind the ball and chase a point with their lives, rather than come at them and go all out for a win.

In fairness to Villa, they could have taken all three points against the Gunners, but Brett Holman saw a stinging late drive touched onto the crossbar by Wojciech Szczesny.

Villa probably did not deserve to win, but defeat for Arsenal may have offered them another kick up the backside - with past lessons failing to be heeded.

Olivier Giroud sits too deep to be a lone frontman, with it important for him to have pace and trickery in and around him if he is to pose problems.

Arsenal did have plenty of f lair on the field at Villa Park, but the likes of Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta endured afternoons to forget.

Wenger insists that he is not reading too much into increasingly common under-par performances from his side, but there is only so many dour goalless draws you can sit through before fingers start to be pointed - be that from the stands, which was the case on Saturday, or in the boardroom.

Chris Burton

Chelsea 0 Man City 0

New interim Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez was the subject of protests from fans at Stamford Bridge, where there was a negative atmosphere. The Spaniard must surely see this as unproductive and it remains to be seen whether he will be able to win over the club's followers.

Former Liverpool boss Benitez's appointment may be unpopular but he has already improved Chelsea's defending. The shielding work of Ramires and John Obi Mikel helped keep David Silva quiet as the European champions recorded a first clean sheet in 11 games.

Fernando Torres showed no signs of making an immediate improvement following the arrival of his former Liverpool boss, Benitez. The 50million striker's body language was again questionable and he hardly got a touch up against Vincent Kompany. It would be interesting to hear what Benitez thinks is wrong with Torres.

Pete Fraser

Everton 1 Norwich 1

No Plan B - that is the real feature that emerged from Everton's failure to beat Norwich. They started well, indeed almost dominated the opening 45-minutes at Goodison Park.

Their midfield was busy as they created a number of chances - but things were turned on their head in the second 45 as Norwich got to grips with the home side.

Steven Naismith and Stephen Pienaar buzzed around Nikica Jelavic - but he was soundly marked out of the game by Sebastien Bassong and Ryan Bennett, and with no outlet Everton were found wanting - if Europe is their aim, a big improvement and revised tactic book will be needed.

Norwich can take a huge amount of positives from the game, although they must be wary that most sides would have put them to the sword after their disappointing opening half.

Graeme Bailey

Man United 3 QPR 1

QPR stand-in manager Mark Bowen made five changes to the side who lost to Southampton in Mark Hughes' final game in charge and it made a clear difference.

There was a more committed spirit and defensive organisation in the first half. Will Harry Redknapp stick with these changes?

Darren Fletcher's header to make it 2-1 to United was a special moment for the Scot, who scored his first goal in more than a year after his career threatening chronic bowel problem. He also looked at home in midfield and could now be a regular starter.

QPR conceded three goals in eight minutes and set-pieces remain their Achilles Heel but it is also worth noting their collapse ca me shortly after Armand Traore had to leave the field. He was sorely missed.

Pete Fraser

Southampton 2 Newcastle 0

Eyebrows were raised when Newcastle handed Alan Pardew an eight-year contract on the back of one successful season in the Premier League, and Mike Ashley may soon be looking for a loophole in that agreement.

The Magpies suffered a third straight defeat on Sunday, with Southampton proving to be far too strong in a one-sided encounter at St Mary's.

Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse look a shadow of the deadly strike force which struck fear into the heart of Premier League defences last season, while injuries to key men have left Pardew light on graft and guile.

Injuries can be offered as an excuse, with Newcastle's success last season built on their ability to name a settled side and offer rests at suitable junctures.

That is not the case this term and Pardew desperately needs to rediscover the winning formula if he is to avoid mounting pressure falling on his shoulders, with 14th place in the division not good enough for the Toon Army.

Southampton, meanwhile, are finally starting to turn performances into results and could be about to make an impressive surge up the top-flight standings.

It would be foolish to read too much into back-to-back victories over rock bottom Queens Park Rangers and out-of-sorts Newcastle, but the displays of Gaston Ramirez, Jason Puncheon and Adam Lallana suggest the Saints have found their feet and will be a force to be reckoned with over the busy festive period.

Chris Burton

Stoke 1 Fulham 0

After just one win and six draws from their opening ten league games, Tony Pulis' men have now stepped up a gear, claiming seven points from their last three matches.

Charlie Adam was again the hero, notching the decisive strike on 26 minutes - his second goal in three games for the Potters after his winner against QPR in the last home match.

The Scotland international proved a real livewire throughout and Pulis will be delighted he has also now found his scoring boots for his new side after his summer switch from Liverpool.

At the other end, skipper Ryan Shawcross put in a strong defensive display and showed the form which recently earned him his first cap for England.

Dimitar Berbatov was again the Cottagers' main man, and could have earned his side a point with a late strike only for Asmir Begovic to produce a good stop.

But the Cottagers were not allowed time to produce too many of their slick passing moves and gave the ball away too easily at the Britannia.

Fulham now have two London derbies coming up against Chelsea and Tottenham in the coming week and Jol will be demanding an increased effort to halt his side's slide down the league.

Steve Pass

Sunderland 2 West Brom 4

The West Brom bandwagon marches on and after an impressive 4-2 victory at Sunderland on Saturday the time has surely come for the critics to stop labelling their magnificent start to the season as little more than a "fluke".

The Baggies, under fledgling manager Steve Clarke, have now won eight and drawn two of their 13 league games to sit third in the table.

The Premier League this season is little better than average so there is every chance than an unfancied team could force their way into the top four as teams such as Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal struggle.

Their football is free-flowing at times, but they can also dig in when necessary - and it will be in the coming months.

Defensively they look solid, there is creativity in midfield and in Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie there are certainly goals.

It certainly has all the ingredients of success, so fluke? I don't think so.

Simon Crawford

Swansea 0 Liverpool 0

An intriguing contest be tween two sides who preach the same philosophy failed to deliver on its promise, as Swansea and Liverpool played out a goalless stalemate on Brendan Rodgers' return to the Liberty Stadium.

Rodgers will have been pleased to see his Reds side just about win the possession battle, but with the chances not quite falling for Luis Suarez on this occasion there was a lack of cutting edge.

Liverpool's performance drove home another reminder, if one were needed, that Suarez needs some support in attack, while the decision to play Jose Enrique in front of Stewart Downing did not work as neither player excelled.

Swansea carved out opportunities of their own and the way Pablo Hernandez and Michu played again demonstrated just how shrewd Michael Laudrup was in the transfer market with his raid on the Spanish market.

Hernandez, in particular, appears to be developing into a Premier League star, while Swansea appear increasingly difficult to beat and will be thi nking they can push on to cement a place in the top half.

Lewis Rutledge

Tottenham 3 West Ham

Jermain Defoe stole the show at White Hart Lane as Tottenham ran out comfortable winners against a distinctly average West Ham. The lone striker netted a brace to take his tally for the league season up to seven and his first was a real treat for the home fans, scoring from distance after an incredible run from the right side of midfield.

Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey were also extremely impressive as Tottenham showcased a free-flowing attacking performance. They linked up nicely for the second goal, and both hit the crossbar during the course of the ninety minutes.

It could have been different however if Lloris hadn't continued the form he showed against Lazio in midweek. West Ham breached the home side's defence more than they should have done and a team with more cutting edge in front of goal would have definitely scored more than just the one.

As for West Ham, Andy Carroll will receive a confidence boost after scoring with a good header late on. He won everything in the air and deserved his goal. However, the rest of the team offered little and Big Sam will be hoping for less of these type of performances if The Hammers are to build on their exceptionally strong start to the season.

Oliver Bell

Wigan 3 Reading 2

This could be a massive win for Wigan come the end of the season thanks to Jordi Gomez's injury-time goal.

Wigan came into the game on the back of two straight defeats, but they showed great resolve to come from behind at half-time to win 3-2.

The game was clear evidence of why both sides are struggling at the wrong end of the table as they showed they are too easy to score against.

It is great that Roberto Martinez and Brian McDermott are sticking to their principles to play open attacking football, but it leaves their respective sides too open to the opposition.

Scoring twice away from home Reading will feel they should have taken at least a point from the game, but Gomez's late goal ensured they were unable to build on their maiden win of the campaign against Everton last time out.

Roberto Martinez has masterminded two great escapes from relegation in the last two seasons, but on this evidence it looks like both these sides will be fighting to save themselves from the drop come May.

Pete O'Rourke

Sabtu, 24 November 2012

Adkins owes Pardew nothing

Nigel Adkins: Looking forward, not back

Pardew was manager at St Mary's for just over a year and led the club to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy title, as well as agonisingly close to the League One play-offs despite a 10-point deduction.

On Sunday the 51-year-old returns to Southampton for the first time since leaving the club in August 2010, with the hosts now a Premier League side once again thanks to back-to-back promotions under Adkins.

The Saints boss still uses several of the players brought in by the now Newcastle manager, but insists he does not having anything to thank him for.

"I don't think I owe him any debt [of gratitude] at all," Adkins said. "Whatever situation arose, he moved on. I am the manager of Southampton Football Club.

"We've just had back-to-back promotions, we're doing ever so well in our forward progression.

"We're trying to make sure the youngsters come through the system here at Southampton.

"To have James Ward-Prowse, Ben Reeves and now L uke Shaw into the first-team is very rewarding."

Southampton fans are expected to give Pardew a warm reception upon his return but Adkins will not be treating him differently to any other visiting manager.

"We always welcome the opposition manager, whoever it is, to St Mary's," he said. "When the whistle blows, then it is go to win a game of football.

"Afterwards we always invite them in for a drink. We've done that consistently. It doesn't matter who the manager is, that is what we've always done and what we will continue to do."

Southampton head into Sunday's match 19th in the Premier League but with a chance of jumping out of the relegation zone.

Saints will be looking to build on their victory last weekend at Loftus Road, where they condemned QPR, the only side below them, to an embarrassing 3-1 defeat.

The result proved the final straw for the west Londoners' hierarchy, who today sacked manager Mark Hughes and seem set to replac e him with Harry Redknapp.

"We've lost a couple of managers in the Barclays Premier League this week and I don't think it matters if you're at the top of the bottom," Adkins said of the decision.

"Every position is going to be under scrutiny. That's a shame but the reality of being in this league."

Some had suggested in the build-up to last week's game that Adkins himself could have lost his job had the game gone the other way - suggestions the Saints boss today laughed off.

"I've had nothing but support from the chairman, Nicola Cortese," he said.

"We don't need to document anything about it. We've been very successful over the last couple of years.

"We are very demanding of each other but very supportive and I think that's the important thing.

"We have a stability here at Southampton. I think you have to demanding as that means you can keep raising the bar on standards throughout the football club.

"But you've got to be supportive as well and I think that's what we've got here."

Rabu, 21 November 2012

Adkins has Lambert's support

Rickie Lambert: Calls on players to help improve results

Saints' start to life back in the top flight after a seven-year absence has been far from ideal, conceding 29 goals and securing just five points from 11 Premier League matches.

That poor start has seen questions raised over the future of manager Adkins, who on Saturday leads his side into an important match with fellow strugglers QPR.

Lambert is hopeful of a result in west London and joined the chorus of those backing the Southampton manager.

"I definitely want him to stay," the striker said. "He looks at me to try and lead the team as well and I am trying to obviously help him.

"I understand he is under pressure but it is not nice, it is not his fault, you know what I mean? It's all of our fault.

"It's little, little errors that are costing us at the moment but I think some of the performances this season we've deserved more points with what we've got.

"We've got the points we got, we know why we got them points but we can still believe we can turn it around.

"We know it is a big game, we know the circumstances of both teams, where we lie and how big three points will be for either side.

"We do understand that it is a big game but we're going about it like it's any other game, try to prepare like we always prepare."

Southampton come into the match after an impressive, if ultimately disappointing, performance against Swansea last weekend.

Despite dominating the play and taking the lead midway through the second half, a defensive mishap once again cost Adkins' side as they were held to a 1-1 draw.

"It was very disappointing," Lambert said. "I think the performance was brilliant.

"I think the performances this season have been good. It is just little mistakes that are costing us and again it cost us on Saturday.

"But we're confident that we can forget about the mistake and get on and obviously try and get three points on Saturday.

"It is fru strating but we've got to keep on going. That's what the gaffer has done this season. Put it to bed and remain optimistic about the next game."

Not only is Lambert looking for victory at Loftus Road but a goal after an unusually barren period.

The 30-year-old started the season in blistering form, netting four goals in his first five matches as a Premier League player.

Since then, though, Lambert has failed to net in six matches and is becoming increasingly frustrated by that statistic.

"I am not happy when I am not scoring in any game," he said.

"Having a run of six games is frustrating so I'll be definitely trying to get on the scoresheet on Saturday."

England boss Roy Hodgson says opportunities remain for uncapped players like Grant Holt and Rickie Lambert to break into the team

Grant Holt: Pushing for an England call-up

Youth was high on the agenda for this week's friendly against Sweden, with strikers Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha in the squad.

However, Hodgson is keeping an open mind as he plots safe World Cup qualification for Brazil, whose team visit Wembley for February's friendly, ahead of the next competitive fixture in San Marino on 22 March.

"You understand that when you are a national team coach you have a job of picking 20 players for a squad and there are a lot of fans around the country who feel their team is disadvantaged because they do not have a representative," Hodgson said.

"That is not to say their representatives are not good enough. In the case of Norwich striker Grant Holt, of course there is no reason why a man like him with the abilities he has could not play for England.

"But the problem for me is there are a lot of other players who can play for England as well with maybe dif ferent characteristics. Sometimes you have to take all these things into account.

"It can also be a question of what particular time you are playing and who your competitors are.

"I have not made any strong judgements for or against players like Grant, or players of the same sort of ability as him.

"Rickie Lambert at Southampton is often mentioned, and he is a player who has had a similar career to Holt, done fantastically well to come through the lower leagues and prove themselves at every level.

"West Ham striker Andy Carroll of course is another player in that category and he has been in the England squad.

"The last time we played I went down a slightly different route, but that is not to say I will never go back to a route where I am looking for a player of Andy Carroll's stature, of Holt's stature, of Lambert's stature, and then these players will come very much once again into consideration."

Selasa, 20 November 2012

Jack Cork says Nigel Adkins should be given more time by Southampton

Nigel Adkins: Under pressure but has received the backing of Jack Cork

Adkins' future at the St Mary's helm has come under scrutiny following a difficult start to the season, with Saints languishing in the relegation zone ahead of Saturday's match against fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers.

However, he has previously guided the club to back-to-back promotions and Cork is confident he remains the right man for the job.

"To be fair, the gaffer was having to face speculation about his future after just a few weeks of the season because results hadn't been that great," Cork said in the Daily Star.

"But to suggest things like that is just silly in my opinion. He's done a fantastic, remarkable job at Southampton and just doesn't become a bad manager in such a short space of time.

"It's a shame. He's done so well here and the fixtures haven't been kind either. It's far too soon to judge him because the Premier League is so much harder than the Championship.

"But he remains very positive. He must be under p ressure, of course he is, but I've never seen him lose it. Even when things are bad he passes that positivity on to the players.

"I just don't see the point in changing the manager. He needs time to sort things out."

Cork is enjoying life at Southampton after spending time with a number of different clubs over the past few seasons, although an ankle injury at the start of the season has proved frustrating.

"Nigel Adkins was one of the main reasons why I decided to join Southampton," he said. "He was good to me at Scunthorpe and, like myself, coming down here was a big move for him to make.

"It has been a difficult five or six seasons for me, moving to clubs on loan, so it's great to settle here and last season was so enjoyable.

"It was tough, but promotion was well deserved. It's been frustrating being stuck on the sidelines, not being able to help, and I can't wait to get going.

"We all know how hard the Premier League is, but there 's a strong feeling in the squad that we can pick up points with the players we have got."

QPR stay bottom of the Premier League after a 3-1 home defeat by Southampton

Rickie Lambert: Heads in Southampton's opening goal

With managers in both dug-outs under severe pressure, first-half goals from Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon gave the Saints a deserved 2-0 lead at the break, before Junior Hoilett headed QPR back into the game early in the second period.

Southampton, though, kept pushing forward and secured the points seven minutes from time, when Adam Lallana's low cross was poked into his own net by Anton Ferdinand.

With the victory, Nigel Adkins' side have established a four-point gap between themselves and their beaten hosts.

Both he and Hughes stuck with the same starting line-ups that played last weekend, with Southampton the quickest to settle. Captain Lallana came close in the seventh minute, firing just over after a neat one-two with Gaston Ramirez, but their defensive frailties remained.

Adel Taarabt - so often a threat for QPR - drove in-between Nathaniel Clyne and Jose Fonte, before forcing a reaction save out of Paulo Gazzaniga, who then shovelled a Hoilett shot around the post less than a minute later.

Saints returned to the attack and got the game's crucial opener in the 23rd minute, when a corner was not cleared properly by the home defence. Ramirez pulled back for Fonte, whose shot was prodded goalwards by Puncheon. That effort was cleared off the line but Lambert showed his strength to bundle home.

Southampton pushed for another, which came on the stroke of half-time, when Puncheon collected the ball from Clyne, turned Alejandro Faurlin, and fired home a left-footed strike.

QPR were booed off at half-time after their inept display and Hughes replaced Faurlin with Jamie Mackie at the start of the second period, which was only four minutes old when Taarabt's floated cross was nodded home by the unmarked Hoilett.

Saints quickly retained their momentum, though, and Puncheon forced Julio Cesar into a smart save before firing wide twice within a minute.

The game was flo wing from end to end and Cesar had to be at his best to deny a Maya Yoshida scissor-kick 10 minutes from time.

Nelsen headed straight at Gazzaniga moments later and then Saints secured victory, with Puncheon playing a short corner to Schneiderlin for the Frenchman's cross to squeeze in off Ferdinand at Cesar's near post.

QPR fans bellowed 'You're only here for the money' at their players and duly booed the side off at the end of the game, while Adkins and the Saints fans celebrated their first points earned away from home.

Queens Park RangersTeam StatisticsSouthampton
01st Half Goals2
5Shots on Target10
6Shots off Target5
1Blocked Shots5
1Yellow Cards0
0Red Cards0
76.8Passing Success77.3
68.8Tackles Success75
35.4Territorial Advantage64.6
405Total Passes467
26Total Crosses27
185Lost Balls196
52.81st Half Poss.47.2
392nd Half Poss.61

Senin, 19 November 2012

James Ward-Prowse signs new five-year deal with Premier League Southampton

James Ward-Prowse: New deal on the south coast

The 18-year-old midfielder penned an extension to his contract on Monday, which means he will remain at St Mary's until the summer of 2017.

Ward-Prowse has featured in seven Premier League fixtures for the Saints this season.

Manager Nigel Adkins said: "As one of the youngsters coming through the system, James has done ever-so-well since he stepped up to the first team during pre-season.

"He started the first game of the season and played there on merit.

"He's a great lad in respect of being a role model for the younger players, and he works very hard at his game every single day.

"We're delighted that we've got a hungry and ambitious young man who has now committed his longer-term future to the football club."

Ward-Prowse added: "It was nice that we got the win on Saturday, and it's nice to put pen-to-paper. I can kick on from here.

"That's been my dream since I was a young kid, so to get to that stage is fantastic."< /p>

Matt Le Tissier urges extra time for Southampton boss Nigel Adkins

Nigel Adkins: Needs time in the Southampton hotseat, says Matt Le Tissier

Southampton beat fellow strugglers QPR 3-1 at Loftus Road on Saturday and former Saints player Le Tissier feels the club's hierarchy must stick by him, despite their precarious position of 19th in the table.

"I think the fact he has given us back-to-back promotions has earned him the right to have a long crack at the Premier League," he said.

"It is his first chance in the division and he has to be given the chance to grow and learn in the division.

"Hopefully it will be a massive turning point with two home games coming up (against Newcastle and Norwich).

"We have a real chance in those two games of getting out of the bottom three."

Former Southampton manager Lawrie McMenemy echoed those sentiments and highlighted the fact that many of Adkins' players are as new to the top-flight as their manager.

"The thing is not only Nigel is new to the Premier League but the whole team is," he said.

"Any promoted team needs time, particularly ones who haven't been there before.

"Scoring goals has not been the problem, it is letting them in, so the manager would want to sort the defence out."

Minggu, 18 November 2012

Jason Puncheon praises Southampton's performance at QPR

Jason Puncheon: Winger congratulated after finding the net

Puncheon turned in a fine display against Rangers, with whom he had an unsuccessful loan spell last season, and netted the second goal for the visitors.

"It's always good to get one against a former club, but the most important thing was getting three points," he said.

"We sort of got on the front foot and did what we've been doing in recent weeks. I thought we were solid, and that showed in the first half and the second half.

"We have always known as a group that we shouldn't be where we are.

"There have been games that haven't gone our way and games that have slipped through our hands, but we were determined not to do that from back-to-front and in [terms of] finishing off goals and that happened.

"You can sit there and say it's easy, but we were on the top of our game on every yard of the pitch.

"The two midfielders covered every blade of grass on the pitch, Gaston [Ramirez] and Rickie [Lambert] both put in a lot of work a s did the full-backs, centre-halves and goalkeeper.

"That counts, that's what it's all about and that's what we did."

The result helps alleviate the pressure mounting on manager Nigel Adkins, whose future has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks.

Southampton have found themselves in the headlines for the wrong reasons as a result and Puncheon admits it has been hard to ignore.

"It's natural, we're human beings at the end of the day," he said.

"Just because we're professionals it doesn't mean that we don't see and hear things. We've got eyes and ears.

"That's part-and-parcel of football so you've got to take that on the chin and turn up on a Saturday."

Sabtu, 17 November 2012

Nigel Adkins: Victory at QPR proof Southampton are coming of age

Goals from Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon put the visitors 2-0 up at the break and, after Junior Hoilett halved the deficit, an Anton Ferdinand own goal settled the argument.

Adkins said: "We got on the front foot, which was important. We believe we can pass the ball - we've demonstrated that on numerous occasions this season.

"We believe we can score - we've scored three goals away from home and created good opportunities throughout the game.

"There was a good resolve - we're growing in maturity all the time. We've a young group of players who are learning lessons very, very quickly and there's been several good performances of late.

"In any game the first goal's crucial. We got it, and we got a good one just before half-time from Jason Puncheon, who had a really good game again for us.

"Lambert was a threat all day - he scored with a brave header, and old-fashioned centre-forward's header. He put his head in where it mattered.

"We knew QPR would come at us in the second half, but the players dealt with the situation very well. We had good game management, and all credit to the players. It was an excellent three points away from home."

Kamis, 15 November 2012

Hannover forward Didier Ya Konan holds Premier League hope

Didier Ya Konan: Has been linked with a move to England for some time

The Ivory Coast international has long been linked with a move to England, but is yet to complete a switch.

January could see such a move made, with Sunderland, Southampton and Reading believed to be closely monitoring his situation in Germany.

Konan admits that he would welcome the opportunity to take on a new challenge and has refused to rule out the prospect of taking the plunge in 2013.

He is, however, aware that any deal will depend on Hannover and their willingness to discuss a sale.

"I am happy with my form so far," Konan said after netting in a 3-0 victory for Ivory Coast over Austria on Wednesday.

"I have always been linked with the Premier League and hopefully one day a move will happen.

"I am enjoying it at Hannover at the moment, but you never know what will happen in football."

Adkins not expecting the sack

Nigel Adkins: Still expects to be boss of Southampton next week

Saints are just one point ahead of bottom-of-the-table Rangers who have not won any of their 11 Premier League matches this season.

Mark Hughes has been in charge at Loftus Road since January and the two teams meet in west London this weekend.

But Adkins is playing down any suggestions that perhaps one of the two managers could be shown the door in the near future.

He said: "I don't think it will have any relevance whatsoever for either manager.

"We've got two managers and two football clubs at the wrong end of the table but I am pretty confident that both managers will be in situ come Monday.

"I am looking forward to another game. It has been a good week's training. I feel fit, I feel fresh and I've got an energy about myself.

"Every game that you look at has three points up for grabs.

"We're at the wrong end of the league table. We can't hide away from that and so the importance of the next game is always going to be highlighted.

"But it is going to be like that for us for the remainder of the campaign.

"It's a tough league that we're in, we're well aware of that, but one we love being in and one we expect to be in for many, many years to come."

Rabu, 14 November 2012

QPR star Esteban Granero calls on the side to end their 11-match Premier League losing streak against Southampton

Esteban Granero: Ready for 'massive' clash at home to Southampton

The west Londoners are currently sitting bottom of the Premier League table and without a victory in their opening 11 matches.

Mark Hughes' men hope to bring that run to an end when they welcome 19th-placed Saints to Loftus Road and Granero is aware of how important three pints would be.

"We know this is going to be massive for us," he told the club's official website.

"We play at home against one of our rivals. We know the supporters are with us and they deserve more than we are giving to them.

"All we can do is continue training hard and give everything on the pitch on Saturday."

Granero has also been quick to dismiss talk suggesting he could leave the club as soon as January.

"I believe the first win will change everything," he added. "We are doing the correct things and that is why I think it's going to be better for us very soon.

"The beginning has been a little bit tough but I am sure it is going t o get better soon.

"Am I happy here? Yes, more than ever. I came here for a challenge and this is what I have."

The former Real Madrid star added: "I wanted to face a big challenge with this club.

"It is a club with a lot of ambition and it wants to grow. I want to grow with it. Together we can move forward at the same time.

"I know the future is going to be good. Of course words mean nothing in football but I will say that we are training very hard for Saturday's game and we are ready."

Selasa, 13 November 2012

Bale enjoys Saints return

Gareth Bale: Happy to get on the scoresheet at Saints

The 23-year-old came through the youth system at St Mary's and made 45 appearances for the south coast club before joining Spurs in July 2007.

Bale returned on Sunday to Saints for the first time since his departure and headed home the opener to put Andre Villas-Boas' side on course for three points.

However, it was not the easiest of games for Tottenham as Southampton returned from the half-time break reinvigorated and Bale was pleased by the way they held on for a 2-1 victory.

"It was great to come back and it was obviously great to get back on the scoresheet," Bale said.

"I thought I best keep my celebrations to a minimum in a show of respect to the club.

"I think they came out in the second half fighting. They knew they had to bring the game to us and had nothing to lose really.

"They made it difficult for us in the second half and played some good football but we showed our character.

"We hung in there and got the three points we needed.

"I think the main thing for us is to take it one game at a time.

"We're enjoying our football now and we're on a good run so it is good times but we just need to keep our feet on the ground and move forward."

Mousa Dembele and Emmanuel Adebayor both missed Sunday's win with respective hip and back injuries.

Both are doubts for Wednesday's Capital One Cup clash at Norwich, with assistant manager Steffen Freund revealing on Monday that Adebayor is now also suffering from a stomach bug.

He said: "Moussa Dembele is injured. Adebayor came in sick today and we need to see how he is tomorrow.

"I can't say at the moment which team will travel but it will be a strong one."

Few faces remain at Southampton from Bale's time there as, following his departure, they dropped down to the third tier and at one point teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

However, back-to-back promotions saw the club end a seven-yea r exile from the top flight and the Welshman was delighted to face his former club at long last.

"It was amazing to see them back in the Premier League," Bale said.

"I was fully chuffed for them when they got promoted last season and I am sure if they keep playing football like they did in the second half that they will survive in the league and kick on from there.

"It was nice to come back. I've been waiting obviously about five-and-a-half years to do so.

"I've got some old friends here but the most important thing was to come here and get the job done with three points."

Southampton will be looking to get back to winning ways in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday when they take on Leeds in the fourth round.

"It is a very, very quick turnaround," Saints boss Nigel Adkins said.

"In the Capital One Cup we have utilised the squad and we will do that again on Tuesday night up at Leeds.

"We have got a squad of players that all work very, very hard and we'll utilise the squad on Tuesday evening."

Jay Rodriguez netted twice in the previous round as Saints saw off Sheffield Wednesday with relative ease.

The former Burnley striker netted his third goal for his new club on Sunday, lashing home from close range in the second half.

"He has come in, he is a young lad and works ever so hard on the training ground," Adkins said of Rodriguez.

"He works ever so hard on the pitch and needs to have a little bit of belief.

"His movement is exceptional as far as I am concerned. He has got a very good goalscoring record so we know he can scores goals but, like everyone, he needs a little bit of time."

Senin, 12 November 2012

Southampton see their Capital One Cup run halted by Championship side Leeds

Michael Tonge: Netted Leeds' opener as they saw off Southampton

Manager Nigel Adkins' decision to make 11 changes backfired on him in earnest as the Whites secured another top-flight scalp.

The Saints have found life tough since leaving the likes of Leeds behind in the Championship in the summer, accruing just four points from a possible 27.

Even the lure of a quarter-final berth could not lift them as goals from Michael Tonge and El-Hadji Diouf, as well as Luciano Becchio's penalty, saw the home side through.

Tonge opened the scoring in the 35th minute, driving home from 16 yards after Jos Hooiveld failed to fully deal with Luke Varney's cross.

Diouf then appeared to have wrapped things up late on with an easy finish from close range but there was still time for Becchio to convert a last-gasp penalty after Tonge was fouled by Dan Seaborne in the box.

It is not unusual for managers to make changes in this competition - Leeds boss Neil Warnock made four himself - but in view of Southampton's rece nt struggles, Adkins' choice to rest the entire starting line-up from Sunday's defeat to Tottenham, as well as naming an inexperienced bench, looked somewhat strange.

The tinkering was reflected in Southampton's performance too, with the Saints outplayed by their hosts.

It took until the 70th minute for them to register a shot at goal and it will be Leeds, third-round conquerors of Everton, who enter the hat on Wednesday night for a first quarter-final appearance since 1996 - a year they made the final.

Such an outcome had seemed likely from the moment the teams were named.

With such an array of changes made, Southampton were unlikely to start the better of the two and so it proved, with Leeds and in particular rookie full-back Sam Byram making the early running.

It took until the 15th minute for the home side to fashion a chance of note, though, and when they did, it resulted in what will surely be considered as one of the worst misses in recent memory, with Varney somehow missing from point-blank range.


Aidy White stood up a perfect back-post cross to Diouf and, when he sidefooted across the goalmouth with keeper Kelvin Davis stranded, all Varney had to do was score from a yard, but the former Portsmouth man inexplicably hit wide with Diouf unable to ram home the loose ball.

It was a miss which would often strangle the confidence of a player but seven minutes later Varney was running at the Southampton defence, cutting in and fizzing a drive across goal that crept narrowly wide.

He went even closer as the half-hour mark approached too, beating Davis to Danny Butterfield's poor backpass and, after bravely getting to the ball first, saw his edge-of-the-box effort hit the underside of the bar and fall just away from the onrushing Diouf.

Whether it was owing to unfamiliarity or not, Southampton were well off the pace and their goal continued to lead a charmed life when Rodolph Austin put a free header wide but, in the 35th minute, Leeds got what they deserved when Tonge opened the scoring.

Again Varney was involved, this time with a strong run down the left. His cross was hacked away by Jos Hooiveld but Tonge was lurking and from 16 yards slammed a drive through a crowded box for his third goal of the season.

He would have had a second before the break had Davis not tipped his vicious free-kick over but, despite being fortunate to be just a goal behind at the changeover, Saints came out in a similarly lethargic manner.

As has been the case in the league their defending left a lot to be desired, and had Diouf and then Tonge found their range better after Varney was twice brought down on the edge of the box, they could have been cut adrift.

That applied again in the 64th minute when Varney and Tonge played a one-two, with the former denied by Davis who spread himself well, before in the 70th minute, debutant Emmanuel Mayuka registered Southampton's first effort with a wayward shot.

It got little better than that for Adkins' men, though, and with three minutes left, Diouf wrapped things up.

The goal owed everything to Austin, whose 50-yard run may have included some good fortune, but when his low shot was parried by Davis, Diouf had the easiest of finishes from two yards.

After that there was still time for Leeds to get another in injury time, with Becchio, on as a sub, scoring with his first touch from the spot after Dan Seaborne pulled Tonge down in the box.

< /p>

Leeds UnitedTeam StatisticsSouthampton
11st Half Goals0
5Shots on Target1
8Shots off Target1
1Blocked Shots2
0Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
N/APassing SuccessN/A
N/ATackles SuccessN/A
N/ATerritorial AdvantageN/A
0Total Passes0
0Total Crosses0
4Lost Balls2
1st Half Poss.
2nd Half Poss.

Saints striker joins Shots

Dean Holdsworth: Snapped up striker

The 19-year-old, who was recently called into the Portugal under-21 squad, joined the Saints academy in 2011 from Guinea Bissau Academy in West Africa.

Seidi has yet to make an appearance for the Southampton first team but impressed for the under-21 side last term.

Jack Cork says that Southampton's team spirit is excellent after bonding sessions

Jack Cork: Says that the team spirit at Southampton can help improve their fortu

The Saints, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Swansea on Saturday, have endured a frustrating return to the Premier League having only picked up one win in their first 11 games.

Cork made his first Premier League appearance of the season on Saturday following an ankle injury and believes that the good atmosphere among the squad can help turn their fortunes.

He said: "We went to a hotel about an hour away. We had a bit of training at Aldershot on the first day. Then we went clay pigeon shooting and had a bit of team bonding. Jason Puncheon must have cheated as he got the best score. But it was good for the lads to get our heads around it.

"It gave us another chance to really think about tactics and get our heads really on the game, go back to our rooms and get our heads down.

"I've done clay pigeon before but not which such a lot of lads. All of the lads loved it. Emmanuel Mayuka was last and he had to be Punchy's slave - he had to get his dinner for him and stuff like that."

Former Chelsea midfielder Cork also believes that the Saints aren't feeling any pressure just yet, adding: "We talked about it quite a lot over the last week or so. There's no pressure on us now, we just have to go out there and play how we know we can.

"We've had a great couple of years. This is one of those ones years when things aren't going our way. Now we'll find out what we're really made of and try to get the results going again.

"We had the winning mentality for the last two years, so there's no reason why we should just suddenly lose it.

"We're down at the bottom but I don't think there's any pressure on us at the minute. As long as we can keep playing well, hopefully that'll get us up the table."

Minggu, 11 November 2012

Adkins deserves to stay - Cork

Adkins: Backed by midfielder Cork

Saints came into Saturday's Premier League match under no illusions of how important it was to pick up a victory, as speculation mounted over the future of their manager.

Adkins was buoyed by his players' response at St Mary's, where they dominated throughout and looked on course for victory when Morgan Schneiderlin nodded them into a 64th-minute lead.

However, like so many times already this campaign, a defensive mishap allowed Swansea to snatch a point and deny Adkins a much-needed victory.

"The gaffer has done great here these two years," Cork said.

"The lads have always given their all over these two years and they're not going to stop doing it now.

"Just because things aren't really going our way, the lads are always going to play the way we have played and keep playing for the gaffer.

"We know the way he likes to play and the way he likes to do it and I know the lads all like having him here. He's a good gaffer."

Saturday was Cork's first Premier League appearance of the season after a frustrating run of injuries.

After returning from Olympic duty with Great Britain, the 23-year-old picked up an ankle injury in a pre-season fixture at Bristol City.

Cork returned in late September but limped off 81 minutes into his comeback match against Sheffield Wednesday in the Capital One Cup with a knee injury.

He has now overcome that setback and impressed on his first league game of the campaign, playing the full 90 minutes on Saturday.

"I feel really good," Cork said. "I thought I was only going to get an hour or 70 minutes, but I felt really good.

"The manager asked me at half-time how I felt and again about the hour mark and I said I felt fine. I stayed on and felt good.

"I am happy with how I played, it was just disappointing because we played really well and the lads have done great.

"It is just so unfortunate with the position we're in we haven't got the three points because we desperately need them at the minute.

"But if we keep playing like that and we keep playing the way we are, I am sure it will come along eventually.

"It is always hard when you think you're going to win and that happens.

"We know we did reasonably well and we've got a massive game against QPR so hopefully we can go there and take some points."

The man to deny Cork and his team-mates was a former Southampton academy graduate.

Two weeks previously Gareth Bale had helped Tottenham to a 2-1 victory at St Mary's, and on Saturday afternoon Dyer came off the bench to deny the south coast club all three points.

"I felt we put in a few good performances in the last couple of games and it is always going away to a team like Southampton that need the win and we were happy to come away with a draw," Dyer said.

"Southampton will always be in my heart. It was where I was from when I was eight years old .

"It is where I learned my trade, I've always had respect for Southampton and I hope they turn it around.

"I wanted to show my appreciation [in my celebration]. I was at the club for a long time and I just wanted to keep it to a minimum."

Southampton off bottom but forced to settle for a point against Swansea

Nathan Dyer came off the bench to score an equaliser for Swansea against his for

Saints looked set for their second win of the season when Morgan Schneiderlin got on the end of a Rickie Lambert knockdown to force the ball past Gerhard Tremmel after 64 minutes.

But Nigel Adkins' men threw the lead away within 10 minutes when Maya Yoshida was unable to control a short pass from goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga and Nathan Dyer pounced.

The former Southampton winger had only been introduced just before the hour mark and produced a clinical finish in off the post to get Swansea back on level terms.

Although the home side pushed for an equaliser their efforts looked tired and both sides were forced to settle for a point apiece.

Having seen his team concede the opening goal in all 10 games so far this season, Adkins had been keen to keep things solid before the break.

And while the Swans dominated possession they created little beyond a near-post drive from Ki after good trickery from the South Korean.

Indeed, Southampton had the better of the openings with Rickie Lambert a useful weapon with his knockdowns. Gaston Ramirez and Schneiderlin both fired wide when well placed.

It was no surprise when the goal came by that route. But it was even less surprising to see Saints throw the lead away and while they climb above QPR they remain in trouble in 19th.

SouthamptonTeam StatisticsSwansea City
01st Half Goals0
4Shots on Target3
7Shots off Target2
5< /td>Blocked Shots2
2Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
79.5Passing Success82.3
73.7Tackles Success66.7
55.9Territorial Advantage44.1
448< /td>Total Passes485
32Total Crosses16
160Lost Balls159
41.41st Half Poss.58.6
56.22nd Half Poss.43.8

Sabtu, 10 November 2012

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins positive despite being pegged back by Swansea

Saints had to settle for a 1-1 draw when Nathan Dyer cashed in by seizing on goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga pass out from the back after Maya Yoshida miscontrolled.

Morgan Schneiderlin had earlier given the home side the lead at St Mary's and Adkins preferred to focus on the reaction of his players under adversity as they moved off the bottom of the Premier League.

"The reaction of everybody at the football club has been positive," said Adkins.

"Everybody is working very hard and that gave us a good defensive platform to go and pass the ball and create opportunities.

"We've got a very young side. Unfortunately, the decision process for the young goalkeeper has led to the goal but he'll learn from that and we'll take the positives and move on."

He added: "We've gone and performed well today, the supporters have again been magnificent and everyone is pulling in the same direction and because of that it gives us a great opportunity.

"We all want to be successful at Southampton and it's magnificent that the supporters have always been great with me. The players have been fantastic and we're all working together.

"We're in the toughest and most desirable league in the world and we intend to stay here and kick on from that."

Jumat, 09 November 2012

Artur Boruc returns for Southampton; Chico Flores set to miss out for Swansea

Artur Boruc: Back in Southampton's squad

The Polish keeper missed Monday's defeat at West Brom after allegations he threw a bottle at home fans and swore at them, but manager Nigel Adkins says he is in his thoughts once more following the conclusion of a thorough investigation.

Jack Cork is also available again after a knee injury, while right-back Frazer Richardson is close to his first-team return and will step up his comeback from a groin problem in Monday's development game at Tottenham.

Swansea defender Chico Flores is set to miss Saturday's trip to St Mary's as he struggles to overcome a dead leg.

The Spaniard suffered the injury in the Capital One Cup win over Liverpool and missed the draw with Chelsea. Manager Michael Laudrup rates him as "very doubtful" to face the Saints.

Club captain Garry Monk is set to continue in the centre of defence while Michel Vorm (groin), Kyle Bartley (thigh) and Neil Taylor (broken ankle) are all out.

Southampton loan Dan Seaborne to Charlton for a month to cover injury crisis

Dan Seaborne: Valley-bound for the next month

Seaborne, who can play centre-back or left-back, has only made three appearances for the Saints this season, all of them coming in the Capital One Cup.

The 25-year-old is due to stay at the Valley until 8 December and could find himself thrust into early first-team action on Sunday at Bristol City with only one fit full-back in the squad at the moment.

Cedric Evina and Lawrie Wilson recently joined Rhoys Wiggins in the treatment room, leaving Chris Solly to man the fort with stand-ins Salim Kerkar and Michael Morrison.

Wiggins is recovering from two fractured metatarsals, while fellow left-sider Evina suffered a knee injury in training last week and versatile right-back Wilson injured the quad muscle in his left thigh during the defeat to Middlesbrough at the start of the month.

Barnstaple-born Seaborne was a trainee at Exeter and went on to skipper the Grecians and played a part - alongside Charlton's Matty Taylor - as the club soared fro m the Conference to League One in successive seasons.

He has only just returned to action after suffering serious injuries in an attack outside a Southampton nightclub in September 2011.

Adkins wants winning mentality

Nigel Adkins: Saints boss wants collective survival effort

The south coast side have struggled on their return to the top flight and have lost eight of their opening 10 matches, conceding a league-high 28 goals in the process.

That alarming start has seen manager Adkins come under increasing pressure ahead of tomorrow's visit of Swansea to St Mary's.

It is the first of five home matches in a six-week period for Saints, and Adkins wants to kick off that run of fixtures with three points against Michael Laudrup's side.

"It is massively important in respect that it is the next run of fixtures that we've got," Adkins said.

"We cannot do anything to affect the 10 games we've had previously. We've put them to bed now.

"We move on and we look forward to the next ones with positivity, with a steely resolve.

"Our aspiration at the start of the campaign, we've had to assess that and address that.

"We're in a relegation dogfight and we're fighting. Everyone is well aware of that.

"People have to be accountable, players have to take responsibility like every other member of staff.

"The supporters are certainly behind the football club and the players when they go on that football pitch, which is important.

"We're all going to work hard to make this a very successful season for Southampton."

Southampton head into tomorrow's match at the bottom of the Premier League and knowing a gap is already building to those outside the relegation zone.

"We've got to start getting points on the board," Adkins said.

"We've got to have that winning mentality that we've had for the last few years at the football club.

"We've just had 10 games. We've assessed where we are, we have to accept the situation but we've got to keep moving forward.

"I've changed things around. We're going to have a different stimulus by going away for a couple of days.

"I think that is good. Change the routine of groundhog day, if you lik e. There is a different stimulus for everybody and we come into the weekend's game which is the important one.

"After that there will be another one and another one and another one."

Southampton will be able to call upon Jack Cork for tomorrow's match after the midfielder recovered from a knee injury.

Artur Boruc could also be involved again after the club completed its investigation into allegations the goalkeeper threw a bottle at home fans and swore at them in the recent loss to Tottenham.

The game could also see much-vaunted left-back Luke Shaw get his first Premier League start.

The 17-year-old, who has attracted reported interest from the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City, came off the bench in Monday's 2-0 defeat at West Brom for his first top-flight appearance.

Adkins said: "He might have figured a little bit earlier but what we've got is a young player with huge potential.

"What we've got to do is nurture him correctly because he is still a young boy who is growing up.

"What we have to do is extract as much potential out of him and he has got to do that himself. I believe he has got a good environment where he can do that."

Kamis, 08 November 2012

Adkins relishing the challenge

Nigel Adkins: Focused on next game

Southampton are bottom of the Barclays Premier League after conceding 28 goals and suffering eight defeats in their opening 10 games.

Such performances have seen the spotlight fall on Adkins' position, despite having led the club to back-to-back promotions and enjoying vocal backing from the Saints faithful.

But despite talk of relegation and his job being on the line, Adkins remains defiantly upbeat.

"I love being the manager of Southampton," he said. "I don't like being bottom of the division but I love the situation we're in.

"You find out about yourself, you find out about other people and I want to be in the Barclays Premier League.

"I want to be a manager for a long period of time. We worked very hard to get into this situation.

"We knew that every game was going to be challenging in the Barclays Premier League. It is the toughest, most desirable league in the world.

"This is where we want to be and you know you' re going to be faced with the media speculation like that to have gone on this week.

"I must say I have not read the papers but I get told about one or two different situations.

"Every situation we are faced with is a great challenge. I love being in it and, as I said, you find out about yourself.

"I am finding out about myself and I relish this challenge, believe you me. I am looking forward to many, many years to come."

Talk has been rife that Adkins had showdown talks with executive chairman Nicola Cortese this week and that failure to beat Swansea on Saturday could see him replaced.

"Until you are actually placed in that situation, you never going to know how you will feel or react," he said of the reports. "It hasn't fazed me at all.

"Let's not hide away from the fact that in football at some stage there is always a parting of the ways between a manager and a football club.

"I am determined to be a success here at Southam pton Football Club, the chairman is determined to be a success here at Southampton Football Club so we both share the same ambition.

"What we do is we get on. There doesn't need to be any talk about it. We will be a success here."

Adkins also quashed speculation that team selection, transfers and tactics are influenced by others at the club.

"The manager of the football club picks the team," he said. "I am the manager of the football club, I pick the team.

"My objective is to win games of football. You talk about tactics, previously you've seen the different formations we've employed. We have not just employed one formation.

"We've changed formations, we've changed tactics with a desire to win a game of football. We've done that very successfully over the previous seasons and will continue to do that.

"Obviously from the structure down, we have in place a certain philosophy and a certain way of playing for the youngsters, which just gives us a framework to go and work from.

"We believe it is a good one to help the youngsters develop and learn from. From that, you can then go and change things around and that's what we've done."

Adkins is now taking his players away for a couple of days somewhere in the UK in preparation for the Swansea game. It is a move he sees as important in his bid to stop the rot.

"We're going to change it around a little bit, change the stimulus round," he said.

"I think that's important because sometimes you can be coming to groundhog day.

"We reached 10 games, we were always going to look to do that. Change the environment, change the mindset and make sure we get focused for the next game."

Peter Odemwingie struck twice as West Brom beat Southampton 2-0 to go fifth in the Premier League

Peter Odemwingie: Bagged a Monday night brace

The Saints played their part in a lively match at The Hawthorns but struggled to cope with a vibrant Baggies attack, led by Shane Long and Odemwingie, whose brace took the hosts up to fifth.

Southampton made a bright start to the contest and Steve Davis fired high and wide from distance before Rickie Lambert tested Ben Foster with a low drive.

But the hosts then enjoyed a period of strong pressure and Zoltan Gera should probably have done better than side-foot Odemwingie's cross-shot over the bar from close range.

Long then tried to curl one into the top corner, while Lambert put a header straight at Foster from a Gaston Ramirez cross at the other end, as the game opened up.

The Baggies were now looking really dangerous, however, and claimed a somewhat fortuitous lead when Youssouf Mulumbu found Odemwingie (36) and, after possibly controlling the ball with his arm, he unleashed a powerful shot from the edge of the box which hit May a Yoshida's leg and flew past Paulo Gazzaniga.

The lead was almost doubled just before half-time but Gazzaniga, starting in place of Artur Boruc, did well to deny Long after a surging run into the box by the striker and the lively Odemwingie's follow-up effort hit Morgan Schneiderlin and bounced away to safety.

Southampton came within inches of restoring parity after the break when Jay Rodriguez's cross ricocheted around before falling kindly for Lambert, who stroked a half-volley against the bar.

The visitors continued to probe for an opening but then fell further behind to a brilliant counter-attacking goal from the Baggies, Long racing down the left to latch onto a long pass from Liam Ridgewell and then cutting inside, before whipping over a superb cross which Odemwingie (60) headed home from close range.

And West Brom came very close to adding a third but Chris Brunt arrived at the back post to volley just wide of the target after good work fr om Romelu Lukaku.

The Saints almost grabbed a late consolation but Yoshida headed wide from a corner and Foster foiled Adam Lallana in stoppage-time.

West Bromwich AlbionTeam StatisticsSouthampton
11st Half Goals0
3Shots on Target3
9Shots off Target5
5Blocked Shots2
1Yellow Cards0
0Red Cards0
78.7Passing Success82.6
85.7Tackles Success69.6
52.6Territorial Advantage47.4
381Total Passes501
25Total Crosses25
153Lost Balls153
541st Half Poss.46
34.12nd Half Poss.65.9

Rabu, 07 November 2012

Saints sticking with Adkins

Adkins: Under pressure at St Mary's

Adkins' position at the helm has come under increasing scrutiny after the side's poor start to life back in the top flight after a seven-year absence.

Despite being revered by most home supporters after leading the club to back-to-back promotions, reports have intensified this week suggesting executive chairman Nicola Cortese is set to relieve the 47-year-old of his duties.

The pair are said to have held talsk on Tuesday, and it is understood he will remain in charge for this weekend's game with Swansea.

Adkins will be speaking to the media on Thursday at an unusually early 8am pre-match press conference, which is expected to attract heightened interest given Southampton's current predicament.

The south coast side have lost eight of their 10 games back in the Premier League and have secured just one victory, a 4-1 home win against Aston Villa.

Adkins will need a similar result against Michael Laudrup's side after a string of bad res ults, including Monday's 2-0 defeat at West Brom.

The odds on him being the first manager to lose his job were rapidly cut following the Hawthorns defeat and he admitted after the game the pressure is on.

"I don't think anybody needs to give anyone a vote of confidence because if you do, then we all turn around and say, 'he's got the dreaded vote of confidence'," Adkins said.

"We need to win and I believe we can do it. I'm very proud and privileged to be the Southampton manager. I'll stand out and lead from the front as I've always done.

"I'm very positive. I know I'm a better manager today than when I joined Southampton. I know I've improved a lot.

"But someone is always going to be the favourite [to be sacked], and if you're bottom of the league, well, you should be the favourite probably.

"I'm not going to hide away from that. But what a great challenge we face."

Adkins joined from Scunthorpe in September 2010 when Saints w ere languishing 22nd in League One following Alan Pardew's departure.

He led them to the runners-up spot and automatic promotion from the third tier during his first season and achieved the same feat the following campaign in the Championship.

Adkins, though, has not enjoyed the same success in the Premier League, leading the likes of Paolo Di Canio, Gianluca Vialli and Rafael Benitez to be touted as potential replacements.

Former Southampton managers Harry Redknapp and Gordon Strachan have also been linked with a return to St Mary's.

Rather surprisingly, Adkins was on Tuesday heavily backed by some to become the next Blackpool manager.

Charlton chase Seaborne loan

Dan Seaborne: Could be set for a loan move away from Southampton

Charlton boss Chris Powell is keen to bolster his defensive options, with the Addicks sitting just above the drop zone.

Powell's side shipped four goals at home to Middlesbrough at the weekend and he sees Seaborne as the man who can shore up their rearguard.

Seaborne has found himself down the pecking order this season with the former Exeter man yet to feature in the Premier League.

The 25-year-old has only featured three times in the Capital One Cup this season and now Southampton boss Nigel Adkins is ready to loan him out so that he can get some first-team football under his belt.

A number of Championship clubs are thought to have enquired about Seaborne, but Charlton are hoping to lure him to The Valley.

Davis: Saints will get it right

Davis: Says Saints are all pulling together

Southampton remain bottom of the Premier League after Monday night's 2-0 defeat at West Brom courtesy of two goals from Peter Odemwingie.

They have collected only four points from the opening 10 games, conceding 28 goals in the process, and there is mounting speculation over the future of Adkins.

Davis said: "The manager tries to take the pressure away from us as much as possible and lets us try and concentrate on the football.

"We are all in the same position, results haven't been going our way and we are all under pressure

"We're all pulling in the same direction to try and put it right.

"We are all disappointed to be bottom and the results we've had so far.

"There's still plenty of games left - but we need to get points on the board as soon as possible.

"Everyone wants the same thing, to start winning games, and start moving up the table and we are all determined to do that."

Davis knows there has to be impro vement at both ends of the pitch for the Saints to avoid a quick return to the Championship after achieving successive promotions under Adkins.

He said: "Monday night was similar to other games this season where for periods we've been on top.

"There have not been many games where we've been outplayed. That is frustrating but it gives us something to build on.

"It is important we tighten up at the back and take a few more chances and then hopefully it will come together.

"All you can do is get your head down, keep working hard and try and put things right what are going wrong on the training pitch.

"We've got a home game with Swansea this weekend and that is another good opportunity to get us going and get some points on the board.

"We are still confident can get out of this position, without a doubt. It is still early in the season but we know where we are at this point in time. We are in a fight."

Adkins is trying to remain u pbeat despite Southampton's precarious position.

He said: "I'll stand out and lead from the front as I've always done.

"We are now faced with a great challenge, one we are going to embrace with positivity.

"We need to win games of football and, if I don't believe we can do it, then the players aren't going to believe we can do it. I believe we can.

"I believe we've got talented players. At the moment, maybe things just aren't going our way.

"But we've now played eight teams in the top 10 and I'm looking forward to the fixtures we've got at home because we've been very good at St Mary's over the last few years."

Senin, 05 November 2012

Under-fire Southampton boss Nigel Adkins vows to fight on

The Saints remain rooted to the bottom of the table after going down 2-0 to West Brom at The Hawthorns on Monday night.

The win for West Brom increases the pressure on Adkins as speculation surrounds his future at St Mary's.

Adkins is determined to fight on to try and turn things around, but concedes his future is out of his hands.

"We need a win that's without question," Adkins told Sky Sports HD1. "We've done it since I've been at the football club but it's about winning.

"I'm standing here a far better manager than when I joined Southampton and better than I was six years ago.

"I've got a hunger and a desire. I love being at Southampton. The supporters have been fantastic since I joined the club. I'm positive and it is my responsibility to lead from the front and I have every desire to go and do that.

"I can't control that (his future). It's a decision from the people at the top have to make."

Defensive woes

Adkins felt Southampton were unlucky with Peter Odemwingie's first goal with the striker handling the ball in the build-up to the goal, but he admitted they need to improve their defending if they are to have any chance of staying up.

"We have gone and lost the game," added Adkins "The first goal Mike Dean (the fourth official) is screaming down the mike that it's handball (against Peter Odemwingie) four or five times but he didn't pick it up.

"The second half we had a little better of the football than we did in the first half, but the goal we conceded was a poor one.

"We knew they were good on the counter. We gave the ball away too quickly."

Adkins continued: "Our desire to defend our goal has to better but unfortunately this season we have conceded far too many goals.

"Collectively we have to be forward thinking. We work hard on the training ground and we want that stability in the back four and our goalkeeper. We can score goals."

Saints situation worries Lallana

Lallana: Saints at West Brom on Monday

The Saints have won just once in the Barclays Premier League this season and sit bottom of the table going into Monday night's match at West Brom.

Lallana, 24, has just celebrated the birth of his son but admits it is the thought of a poor performance that is not allowing him a good night's sleep.

"Of course, after a game the adrenaline is flowing and I lie awake, thinking what else we could have done," he said.

"We are coming into a run of games where we can get points, and we have to - it is just about tweaking a few things and getting that right result.

"In any case, I want to do well for my (son) Arthur, so when he grows up he will be watching the Premier League - not Championship football."

Saints manager Nigel Adkins will welcome record-signing Gaston Ramirez back into the squad and could bring him straight back into the side at The Hawthorns.

Southampton spent big in the summer on their return to the Premier League, br eaking their transfer record twice in a matter of months.

Jay Rodriguez was signed from Burnley for a reported 7million before Uruguayan playmaker Ramirez was brought in for closer to 12million on transfer deadline day.

The former Bologna star has been missing for the past couple of weeks with a thigh injury but is now ready to return for Adkins' side.

"A big plus for us is that Gaston Ramirez, our record signing, is back training well this week and we would like to think that he will be included on Monday evening," he said.

"We have a number of players returning from injury now and we can look forward with confidence and embrace the challenge that we are faced with."

Despite being confident that his fully-fit squad can cope with the rigours of Premier League football, Adkins feels Southampton are coming up against a strong West Brom outfit.

"West Brom have a good record at home - they are a solid side who are very good on the counte r attack," he said.

"They have been in the Premier League before having yo-yoed a little bit but they look a very well run, well-managed football club.

"They have a way of playing which suits them, they have a good manager there and some good football players."

Minggu, 04 November 2012

Adam Lallana says players fully behind under-pressure manager Nigel Adkins

Adam Lallana: Backed his boss

The Saints has collected just a single win in nine games and are currently next to bottom in the Premier League table.

But Lallana, the 24-year-old skipper of the south coast club, says the squad are firmly behind their boss.

He said: "Whenever a team is in the bottom three their manager will be under pressure, or at least the media will think that.

"There has been speculation since the start of the season about who was going to be the manager and ifs and buts.

"As a player you just get on with it and do as best as you can, not just for yourself and the team but for the manager as well.

"He (Adkins) got back-to-back promotions so has got to be given great credit for what he has done already and we all respect that.

"Hopefully for the foreseeable future Nigel is the boss and I hope it stays that way."

Adkins focusing on Saints

Nigel Adkins: Looking forward to West Brom clash

The Saints travel to West Brom on Monday night looking to add to their one league win to date this season.

West Brom are a perfect example of a team that have come up from the Championship and now appear settled in the top flight but, although Adkins praised Steve Clarke's side, he stopped short of wishing Southampton could copy the Hawthorns' model of survival.

"West Brom have a good record at home - they are a solid side who are very good on the counter attack," he said.

"They have been in the Premier League before having yo-yoed a little bit but they look a very well run, well-managed football club.

"They have a way of playing which suits them, they have a good manager there and some good football players.

"There is a great vision here at Southampton Football Club and what we have got to do is concentrate on what we do - a lot of other clubs can be highlighted but we need to focus on ourselves."

Adkins has guided the Saint s to back-to-back promotions but the team have struggled since reaching the Premier League.

The former Scunthorpe manager remains happy with the set-up of the club off the field and is still enjoying the on-field battle to stay in the division.

He said: "The stability has been here and we need everyone to stick together because we have been very successful over the past few years.

"We are financially well-run, and you can see with all of the building work that is going on all the time and the recruitment of players that investment coming in.

"It's a challenge we will embrace. We have scored in all of our games bar one so we are looking forward to it."

The Saints spent big in the summer on their return to the Premier League, breaking their transfer record twice in a matter of months.

Jay Rodriguez was signed from Burnley for a reported 7million before Uruguayan playmaker Gaston Ramirez was brought in for closer to 12million on transfe r deadline day.

Neither player has really found their feet in the Southampton side as yet with former Bologna star Ramirez missing the past couple of weeks with a thigh injury.

But the 21-year-old could make a timely return from injury in time for the clash with West Brom and Adkins is pleased with the number of players now making their way back to full fitness.

"A big plus for us is that Gaston Ramirez, our record signing, is back training well this week and we would like to think that he will be included on Monday evening," he said.

"We have a number of players returning from injury now and we can look forward with confidence and embrace the challenge that we are faced with."

A fully-fit squad will give Adkins a greater chance of being able to mastermind a second league victory for the south coast club as they try and avoid being cut adrift in the relegation zone.

The 4-1 win over Aston Villa at St Mary's in September remains the S aints' only success so far and they remain five points behind Paul Lambert's side in the table after taking only a point from their next four matches.

Sabtu, 03 November 2012

Adkins enjoying the challenge

Nigel Adkins: Relishing the challenge

Adkins takes his side to West Brom on Monday night still searching for an elusive league win.

The former Scunthorpe manager has come under increased media speculation regarding his future at St Mary's but revealed he is loving life at the wrong end of the table, with Southampton sitting 19th with only four points on the board.

"I'm loving the challenge, you only know once you're in a situation how you are going to react and face it," he said.

"After the West Ham defeat there was a half-hour period which I didn't like but I'm loving the challenge that we are faced with, it is what you want to be in football for."

Adkins feels he has been a marked man even before the Premier League season got under way but does not feel under any more pressure now than when he was guiding the Saints to back-to-back promotions.

He said: "Before we even kicked a football I think I was the favourite to be sacked.

"So every week there is a question about that and it doesn't faze me one iota, I'm very, very ambitious and we are very ambitious here at Southampton - what will be in football will be.

"(The pressure) is exactly the same as when I joined. I put my comments out straightaway that I wanted to win the league and we got ourselves promoted, then we got ourselves promoted from the Championship.

"We are ambitious, we want to be winners and we are used to being winners - we are now faced with a different challenge but it is one that we embrace, we look forward to it. Nobody said it was going to be easy, this is what we are in football for, we are pushing ourselves to the limit.

"We can go one of two ways - we can either hide behind situations and crumble or we can face everything up, stick our chests out and we can be positive in what we do."

Norwich set an example last season of a side who can sustain a place in the top flight following two consecutive promotions but Adkins is keen to st ress the club are still in a transitional period after dropping into the third tier.

"We have come a hell of a long way in a short space of time, I think everyone is well aware of that," he said.

"It is quite often the way that a newly-promoted side from a defensive point a view, a lot more questions are asked of you when you move up - especially if you have jumped up two divisions like we have gone and done.

"Everyone wants to the finished article straightaway, there is a great work in progress that is going on here at Southampton.

"There a lot of people from top to bottom throughout all of the different departments work very hard and are proud to be here at Southampton."

Adkins feels a number of injuries to key personnel over the opening months of the season have also played a part in destabilising his side.

"I never want to harp on about injuries but it is fair to say that the back four has been unsettled more or less in every gam e for one reason or another," he said. "I'd like to think we can now put a consistent back four together and that will only add to the stability in the team."

One player due to return from injury is club-record signing Gaston Ramirez.

The Uruguayan has been missing for five weeks with a thigh injury after his summer move from Bologna but Adkins is hoping he can unleash the 21-year-old at the Hawthorns on Monday night.