Southampton vs. Sunderland  0 - 1

Article

Adkins: Flat Saints paid price

24 December 2012 07:07

Nigel Adkins says Southampton did not produce enough in the attacking third to take anything from their clash with relegation rivals Sunderland.

The home side produced a lifeless display and after falling behind to Steven Fletcher's 42nd minute opener, never looked too likely to grab an equaliser.

"It just didn't happen for us today," the Saints' manager told the official club website.

"It was uncharacteristically flat from us, and unfortunately we didn't score any goals.

"I changed it around early doors in the second half because we'd gone behind and we were chasing the game, but unfortunately

"We've scored a lot of goals this season and today for me, for whatever reason uncharacteristically, it just didn't happen for us."

Without the injured Adam Lallana, Adkins handed Zambia striker Emmanuel Mayuka a start alongside Ricky Lambert but the summer signing failed to fire and was withdrawn shortly after half-time.

"We started with Emmanuel Mayuka today as well and one of the big reasons for that was so that we could get in behind them," Adkins said.

"We'll have to analyse why we didn't to do that, why we didn't find the pass and why the run wasn't there I don't know, but we wanted to create some space for ourselves, and play between the lines.

"For me, we didn't get the flow that we normally do, and we didn't get as many crosses in which is something that we highlighted before the game."

However, Adkins was reluctant to put the cause of the poor performance solely on missing skipper Lallana, insisting that the rest of the team need to contribute.

"It can't be about one player," he said.

"Every team is going to have players that are missing so you've got to have a strong enough group of players so that if one is missing, then they go and contribute, so who's to say that if Adam had been playing that it would have been any different?

"We can't just turn around and go we've lost because of one player we've lost the game because of the result.

"We played Gaston Ramirez on that left hand side to start with and he plays there for Uruguay which he does very well, so we've got a talented player who has gone and played in a position that Adam would have done.

"We started him wide to try and get him in the pockets and get Emmanuel running in behind him on the shoulder to stretch the game."

Despite the defeat, Southampton remain outside the relegation zone, above Wigan on goal difference, with away fixtures at Fulham and Stoke to come.

Article

Premier League preview: Southampton v Sunderland

20 December 2012 15:43

Southampton will welcome Sunderland to St Mary's on Saturday, with both sides aware defeat could leave them in the bottom three.

The two sides occupy 17th and 16th place respectively on the English Premier League table, with only goal difference keeping the home side out of the drop zone, despite holding a game in hand over their immediate rivals.

Strong home form has been the Saints' saviour so far in their promotion campaign, as they have not lost in their past four at St Mary's, and manager Nigel Adkins will be hoping that trend continues when the Black Cats visit.

Their chances of victory at the weekend, however, will be restricted by the absence of playmaker Adam Lallana (knee) and goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga (shoulder).

Returning to the Saints' match-day squad, though, will be midfielder Richard Chaplow (thigh), left-back Danny Fox (knee) and defender Frazer Richardson (hip).

Meanwhile at the Stadium of Light, manager Martin O'Neill will be without right-back Phil Bardsley (knee), defender Wes Brown (knee), midfielder Lee Cattermole (knee) and left-back Danny Rose (ankle) for their trip south.

Swedish winger Sebastian Larsson said he was hoping Sunderland can take some positives from their recent defeat away to league leaders Manchester United ahead of the relegation six-pointer at St Mary's.

"Next weekend is as big as Reading," Larsson told the Chronicle.

"Although we would have loved to have taken something from the game on Saturday (against United), it was not really nailed down as a three-pointer - but next week will be different.

"We have to remember what we did against Reading and take the positives from the second half on Saturday.

"The games with the teams around us are the big ones.

"We managed three points against Reading and hopefully we can do the same against Southampton."

The two sides' most recent clash was in 2007, when both sides were in the English Championship, and Sunderland took all three points in a 2-1 win.

However, that was the Black Cats' first win over the Saints since 2001, with the coastal club winning three in a five-match unbeaten streak before their loss five years ago.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25