22 July 2024

Russell Martin: Southampton boss admits squad will not be 'perfect' for  season opener - BBC Sport

Despite losing 4-1 to Leicester City, Russell Martin lauded his Southampton players for their effort and acknowledged that it was a stronger showing than their previous defeat to Sunderland.
The Saints got off to a bad start, committing defensive errors that allowed Leicester to score quickly.
Despite Samuel Edozie scoring for himself, the Saints were unable to sufficiently bounce back from their defeat to Sunderland.

Russell Martin admitted that he was proud of his Southampton players for their showing against Leicester City despite their 4-1 defeat, speaking to the Irish News.

The Saints came into this game knowing they needed to improve if they wanted to avoid being hammered again following their 5-0 loss against Sunderland before the international break.

Many of their supporters got up early in the morning to see that game – and they needed to repay those supporters that were coming to St Mary’s last night.

How did the Southampton v Leicester City game pan out?

Russell Martin: Southampton boss admits squad will not be 'perfect' for  season opener - BBC Sport

Unfortunately for the hosts, they made the worst possible start to the night with Jamie Vardy slamming the ball in within a minute to put the Foxes 1-0 up.

And they doubled their lead shortly before the 20-minute mark, with another mistake from the home team allowing Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall to slip the ball through to Kasey McAteer who remained composed and fired the ball past Gavin Bazunu.

The Saints did have their chances during the game and another error, this time by Callum Doyle, enabled Samuel Edozie to halve the deficit.

But instead of grabbing an equaliser, Martin’s men conceded again during the final seconds of the first half, with Wilfred Ndidi just about managing to guide the ball home.

In fairness to the Saints, that didn’t discourage them with the home team starting the second half well, with Kamaldeen Sulemana proving to be a threat.

But Stephy Mavididi managed to wrap the game up after breaking forward and making up for other missed opportunities.

The night got even worse for the home team when Sulemana was sent off deep into stoppage time, though many of the Saints’ supporters had left the ground by then.

There was discontent from the stands early on and boos at the end, with Martin and his team having plenty of work to do to get back on track.

What did Russell Martin say about Southampton’s performance against Leicester City?

Considering how uncomfortable they looked passing the ball around the back during the early stages of the match and the fact they were so poor defensively, some would have expected Martin to be quite critical in his post-match interview.

But he was anything but damning, saying: “It is a very different feeling to Sunderland (5-0 defeat). I am proud of the players, people will criticise me for saying that but they did what we asked of them.

“I take loads from that and it was a much better performance than Sunderland. If anyone expected there not to be any pain when it is such a big change then they are very naive.”

Does Russell Martin have a point?

The Saints were good at times but it’s difficult to be too complimentary about their performance because they looked extremely wobbly early on.

They were also shocking defensively and the fact Mavididi managed to sprint through their defence (or lack of it) for the fourth goal is a disgrace really.

The Foxes could have scored more if they were more prolific and you just feel that’s on Martin because he didn’t have the best defensive record at Swansea City either.

If the Saints’ defence doesn’t improve, Martin will be sacked sooner rather than later.

And with the defensive options he has, he will have no valid excuses if the Saints’ defence doesn’t improve.

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